Series Killers

Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole are known for series murders that seriously shocked American society. They were also claimed to be lovers as well as partners in several murders. Therefore the guidelines of the paper are to provide individual life profiles of the individuals, to describe their crimes, to define a time line of the crimes and to recommend possible measures to be taken in such situations. Henry Lee Lucas was on the 23rd of august, 1936, in Virginia, Blacksburg. His mother appeared to be a violent prostitute whereas his father was ex-railroad employee and alcoholic having lost both legs because of train accident.

Both his father and small Lucas suffered from violence of his mother. Lucas was regularly beaten and even without any evident reason. One day Lucas has even spent three days in coma being hit by a plank of wood on his head. What is more awful is that Lucas was forced watching his mother having sex with other men. There was also an incident when father’s friend presented a pony to boy and mother simply killed it by shooting dead. (Shellady 2002) Being a teenage, Lucas understood the pleasure of bestiality killing animals just for fun.

Such trait was common among sociopaths, according to some psychiatrists, especially series killers. It is known that Lucas has lost his eye fighting with his step-brother. The injury though was ignored for several days; however when the eye showed signs of serious infection his mother brought Lucas to day and his eye was replaced by a glass one. Here was a man who had accumulated few friends amid his dirt-poor existence. As it was mentioned Lucas lost his left eye as a child, and some who knew him early on said this turned him into a self-deprecating introvert.

One prison psychiatrist says Lucas’ home environment, in which his prostitute mother often brought home johns while his double-amputee father watched helplessly, would have been enough to cripple him emotionally. (Egger 1990) The firs Lucas’ murder occurred in 1951. Lucas killed a young girl simply because she refused to have sexual relations with him, although he retracted his confession as many others in future. For, example, in 1954 he “was convicted on several counts of burglary in and around Richmond, Virginia”.

In result Lucas was imprisoned for six years. However, he made several attempt to escape from prison, but was captured and released only in 1954. (Egger 1990) It is reported that Lucas was involved in more than 350 murders, although according to some sources he confessed of being involved in about three thousand murders. It means that he was killing one person per day between releases from prison between the time periods 1975-1983. Official figure 350 murders is claimed to base on Lucas’ confession that are considered believable by “Lucas Task Force”.

This group was strongly criticized by Attorney General, Texas, for participating in “extended hoax” and “sloppy police work”. (Henry Lucas & Ottis Toole) In the end of 1960s, Henry decided to move to Michigan in order to live with Opal, his half-sister. Lucas became engaged and was about to marry when his mother came with a visit on Christmas. It is apparent that sons’ fiancee was disapproved and Lucas was forced to move back to Virginia. Surely, Lucas refused arguing about his near marriage plans. In the result on the 11th of January, 1960, Lucas killed his mother by stabbing her with a sharp knife.

However, Lucas repeated that he had to kill her only in self-defense, though he was rejected and then sentenced to about 40 years of imprisonment. The sentence was second-degree murder. Actually Lucas was imprisoned only for 15 years and was released on the 22nd of August, 1975. (Jenkins 1994) Lucas was wondering for some time around the American South trying to find any available short-term job. Between the period1976-1978 Lucas became acquainted with his future partner Ottis Toole in Florida. Actually they were lovers.

Later Lucas confessed that during their acquaintance he killed more than a hundred people being a Toole’s accessory in several cases. In June 1983 he was arrested again for firearms violation. Later Lucas was accused for killing Kate Rich, 82 years of age, and for killing his girlfriend Powell. (Egger 1990) Although Lucas confessed to all the mentioned murders he appeared to be unable to show the bodies of victims. His confession was hand-written and claim: “I am not allowed to contact any one I’m in here by myself and still can’t talk to a lawyer on this I have no rights so what can I do to convince you about all this”.

However, Lucas was taking investigators to the sites of many of those he had killed. Lucas as it was mentioned “has confessed to those murders only to later deny involvement, but the general consensus seems to be that Lucas did indeed murder Powell and Rich”. In the result Lucas was pled guilty and the open court announced him guilty in killing about a hundred women. Such confession was considered rather unexpected and Lucas was also suspected in disappearance of Powell. In 1983, November, Lucas was imprisoned in Williamson County, Texas.

Nevertheless, Lucas claimed he had confessed in all those murders only because he wanted to improve his living conditions and to receive preferential treatment which is so rarely offered. (Shellady 2002) Accounts were offered to support his claims, for example, “that Lucas was rarely handcuffed when in custody or being transported, that he was often allowed to wander police stations and jails at will – including knowing the security codes for computerized doors – and that he was frequently taken to restaurants and cafes”. (Egger 1990) It is apparent that following his arrest, however, Lucas suddenly became a somebody.

He had a color television in his private cell and was allowed to use the telephone almost at will. He began painting still lives. He often ordered cheeseburgers and soft drinks as though he were truly a guest. And every few days, he would be taken somewhere by the Rangers to “clear up” unsolved murders – in a car in Texas or by state jet to California, Florida, Arkansas or Georgia. Lucas had clean clothes, all the cigarettes he could light and all the coffee he could drink – which was considerable on both counts. (Henry Lucas & Ottis Toole) Lucas was accused for eleven murders.

It resulted in death sentence for killing unidentified woman discovered in Williamson County in 1979. Confession was thoroughly recorded and subjected to editing. Lucas has additional nine convictions besides the mentioned death-penalty case, all of them carrying sentences of 75 years to life. Only two of these convictions came during jury trials, however; the others were based solely on his confessions. There was an idea that Lucas confessed the crimes he had never committed. An imaginary life of crime became a heady experience for Lucas — a semi-ignorant, much-maligned drifter.

For example, he confessed to kill Curby Reeves in Texas, 1977, but there is strong evidence that was working a full shift in Kaolin. The next imaginary murder is killing Elaine Tollet, Oklahoma, but at that time he was hospitalized in West Virginia. Several times Lucas’ testimonies appeared to be inaccurate and dubious. Lucas claimed also to be involved in cannibalistic and satanic cult “The Hand of Death”. He confessed in participating in snuff films and in killing Kimmy Hoffa. Lucas stated he had delivered poison to Jim Jones. However all those confessions were strongly criticized as less likely to happen.

(Henry Lucas & Ottis Toole) As for recommendations it is necessary to say that may both his hard childhood and his violent mother have affected his psyche. On the one side it is difficult to accuse mentally-ill person, on the other he was a serious killer. Actually it is difficult to understand why he has been released from jail after such serious accusations. Either life imprisonment or death penalty would be the best measures to be taken. Ottis Toole was Lucas’ partner in several murders and his lover. Actually Toole was an American series killer and cannibal as well as Henry Lucas.

Toole was suspected in many unsolved murders, “he recanted and restated a number of confessions”. Ottis was sentenced for two times because of murders whereas he confessed to more than four murders before dying while imprisonment. Ottis was the first to be suspected in killing Adam Walsh who was the America’s Most Wanted host. (Henry Lucas & Ottis Toole) Concerning his personal profile it is known that he was born in Florida, Jacksonville. When Ottis was young, his father left them alone claming his wife was a religious fanatic. Toole later confessed that his elder sister was constantly dressing him in girl’s clothes.

Toole’s grandmother was known as a Satanist and Toole was forced to take part in different practices and religious rites. In result Toole ran away from home claiming “to have started fires in abandoned homes from a young age”. (Jenkins 1994) Toole committed his first murder when he was only 14 years of age. Traveling salesmen propositioned him sexual relations and Ottis then ran him over with a car. Although the claim still remains unverified. Toll was firstly arrested in 1964 being accused of loitering. It resulted in marriage, although his bride left him after realizing he was homosexual.

(Henry Lucas & Ottis Toole) As it was mentioned above Ottis Toole made acquaintance with Henry Lucas in about 1980s. They were claimed to commit several hundreds of murders and to participate in cannibal secret cult “The Hand of Death”. Toole forswore his confessions as well as Lucas stating they wanted to improve their living conditions. Lucas’ guilt was dubious whereas Toole was considered series killer and cannibal. (Jenkins 1994) Toole was sentenced for death penalty in 1984 for killing George Sonnenberg, 64 years of age, in 1982. The incident took place in Toole’s native town Jacksonville, Florida.

“Meanwhile back in Florida, Ottis was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and his death sentence was commuted to six consecutive life terms for an arson murder”. (Henry Lucas & Ottis Toole) In 1984 Toole was also pled guilty for killing 19-year-old resident Ada Johnson. It resulted in second death penalty. However, both death sentences were reduced for life imprisonment. (Henry Lucas & Ottis Toole) Actually Ottis Toole was accused in 1991 for more four murders and was sentenced to more four life imprisonments. In 1974, for example, Park Estep, young soldier, was accused in brutal murder of message parlor operator.

An important evidence of his innocence appeared in 1984 as Ottis Toole confessed in that crime. Toole died in 1996 in prison because of cirrhosis of the liver. It is seen that both series killer have much in common. Both of them had difficult childhood and hostile environment: Lucas’ father was always drunk as a cobbler whereas Toole’s father left him when he was young; Lucas’ mother was a violent prostitute, whereas Toole’s mother was a religious fanatic with a Satanist grandmother. Boys were negatively influenced by such environment and their psyches were disturbed.

(Jenkins 1994) The next common trait was their first murders; both of them were based on sexual relations: Lucas was refused and Toole was propositioned. Therefore it is possible to claim that they were men with mental disorders. All the negatives events undermined their state of mind and caused future murders. It is possible to recommend, for example, special institutions for mentally-ill such as asylums for criminal lunatics. Otherwise court didn’t claim them to be ill, therefore they have to be sentenced exactly to death penalty as the number of their victims is too high.

Every person has to be responsible for unjust deeds. (Henry Lucas & Ottis Toole) References Egger, Steven. (1990). Serial Murder: An Elusive Phenomenon. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. Henry Lee & Lucas Toole. (2004). Retrieved September, 24, from http://www. mayhem. net/Crime/lucas. html Jenkins, Philip. (1994). Using Murder: The Social Construction of Serial Homicide. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Shellady, Brad. (2002). Henry: Fabrication of a Serial Killer, included in Everything You Know Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Secrets and Lies. Westport, CT: Praeger.