Interrogation

Corll's body as found by police on the scene shortly after Henley called and confessed to shooting him.

Corll’s body as found by police on the scene shortly after Henley called and confessed to shooting him.

Police arrived at Corll’s home to find Henley, Williams, and Kerley sitting on the sidewalk out front. Henley told the officer that the body was inside. When the officer on the scene entered the room he knew this was no ordinary homicide. Within the room of Corll’s body were a number of sex toys, along with his homemade torture board.

The officer walked back outside to read Henley his rights. Before the officer could even finish, Henley abruptly interrupted him by stating “I don’t care who knows about it! I have to get it off my chest!”, and told police that he knew where Corll’s victims were buried.

Henley was taken back to the station in order to prepare his confession. At first it seemed as if Henley was a hero, saving himself and two friends from the hands of a sadistic monster. He told investigators how he knew of Corll’s murders and could lead them to the bodies.

As Corll was laid to rest, dozens of bodies of his victims were in the process of being unearthed.

As Corll was laid to rest, dozens of his victims’ bodies were in the process of being unearthed.

As the news broke about Corll’s death and the discovery of the bodies, a simple homicide turned into a media frenzy. Investigators, along with Henley, arrived to Corll’s boat storage facility surrounded by local news reporters. One of the reporters allowed Henley to call his mom from his car phone in order to tell her what happened. He gave a brief statement on camera before pointing out where to dig.

Inside of Corll’s storage unit, 17 bodies were discovered. Some had been badly decomposed, while others were placed there mere weeks prior to the excavation. Most of the boys had been mutilated to their genitals. Some looked as if they had been chewed on, others had their genitals completely cut off and placed into a box with others. A quick interview with the owner of the storage facility gave police the impression that Corll was planning to continue his spree of murders, since he had expressed an interest in renting an additional unit several weeks prior to his death.

Henley was able to identify many of the victims as they were pulled out of the ground. It was then investigators realized that Henley had more to do with the murders than he was leading on. He confessed that he knew about the murders because he assisted Corll by bringing the boys to his home and later buring the bodies, but was adamant that he had absolutely no involvement in the torture, rape, or murder of these boys.

Police digging up bodies at Corll's boat storage facility.

Police digging up bodies at Corll’s boat storage facility.

On August 10, two days after Corll’s death, David Brooks went down to the police station and provided his own confession, which included the extent of Henley’s involvement in the murders. Within the confession he identifies eight different boys who were murdered by Corll that he knew about or witnessed. In one of the murders Brooks describes how he recalled taking a boy a pizza while he was still alive and in captivity at Corll’s home. The boy had asked Brooks to stay, but instead he left. The following day Brooks and Henley helped bury his body.

After Henley had discovered Brooks had come forward to police, he confessed to the full extent of his involvement in the murders. He also agreed to take investigators to the other bodies he knew about, including four more at Lake Sam Rayburn and six buried on the beaches of High Island.

The Trials

A photo of Henley with his arresting officers.

A photo of Henley with his arresting officers.

Brooks and Henley were tried separately for their parts in the abduction and murders of the missing boys.

In July 1974 Henley was tried for the murder of six of the boys. For a week Henley detailed everything he knew about the crimes, including how Corll would brutally torture the boys by mutilating their genitals. Some had their genitals cut off completely, while others had glass rods broken off in their urethras. The lucky ones had their pubic hairs plucked out one by one.

In spite of his confession, his defense insisted that Henley was only forced to go along with the killings because he was under the control of Corll and feared for what would happen to him if he didn’t comply with Corll’s orders. It only took the jury an hour to sentence him to six consecutive life sentences. In 1978 Henley was granted a retrial and was again found guilty and sentenced to six life sentences.

Brooks wouldn’t be tried until February of 1975. Although he had been indited on the murder of four teens, he only went to trial for the murder of William Ray Lawrence. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Henley also stood trial separately for the murder of William Ray Lawrence in 1975. He was found guilty and received an additional life sentence.