Number of victims: 11+
Date of murders: 1960 - 1983
Method of murder: Shooting / Stabbing / Strangulation
Location: Michigan / Texas / Florida
Henry Lee Lucas is either the most prolific serial killer in American history or the biggest liar. He claimed to have killed over 600 victims in a murderous career spanning more than two decades. That number is without doubt exaggerated and few of the murders can be verified. Lucas was however responsible for the deaths of at least 11.
Born to alcoholic parents on August 23, 1936, in Blacksburg, Virginia, Lucas suffered horrific childhood abuse. His mother was a prostitute who forced him to watch her performing with her clients. She also abused him physically, on one occasion beating him so badly that he lost an eye. Eventually, in 1960, he killed her, landing himself a life sentence.
Lucas was paroled in 1970. Thereafter his hit the road, teaming up with another sexual deviant named Otis Toole. This deadly pair drifted from place to place, committing rape, arson and murder wherever they landed. Lucas ended up back in jail for an attempted kidnapping in 1975, and again in 1983 for the murder of his 15-year-old lover, Becky Powell. It was while awaiting trial for this murder that he began confessing, sending police agencies across the south east scrambling for their unsolved files. Many of these confessions though, proved to be a lie.
Lucas was eventually convicted of the murder of Powell, plus that of Kate Rich, an elderly woman who had given him and Powell a place to stay. He was sentenced to death, although the punishment was later reduced to life imprisonment. He died in a prison from natural causes on March 12, 2001.