Dean Corll

Dean Corll

Dean Corll

Photo taken of Dean Corll in 1964, while Corll served in the U.S. Military
Background information
Also known as: The Candy Man
Born: December 24, 1939(1939-12-24)
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Died: August 8, 1973 (aged 33)
Cause of death: shot to death by accomplice Elmer Wayne Henley
Number of victims: 27
Span of killings: 1970–August 8, 1973
Country: United States
State(s): Houston, Texas

Dean Arnold Corll[1] (December 24, 1939 – August 8, 1973) was an American serial killer who, together with two younger accomplices named David Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley, committed the Houston Mass Murders in Houston, Texas. The trio is believed to be responsible for the murders of at least 27 boys, the crimes coming to light only when Corll was shot and killed by his accomplice Henley.


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Early life

Dean Corll was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana to Mary Robinson and Arnold Edwin Corll.[2] Corll moved to Pasadena, Texas with his mother and younger brother when he was 11, following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage. He was regarded as a good student in school and well behaved, although a heart condition kept him out of physical education. In the 1950s, Corll’s mother started a small candy company along with her second husband, operating from the garage of their home, and almost immediately, Corll was working day and night while still attending school.[3]

At age 19, the family moved to the Houston Heights and opened a new shop. Following the breakdown of his mother’s second marriage in 1963, she appointed him vice president of the company and he moved into an apartment above the shop.[4] The candy company by now had a small number of staff and Corll often spent a lot of his free time in the company of young boys. He often gave free candy to local children and for this reason, he was given the nickname “The Candy Man” by the media when his crimes were eventually uncovered.

Corll was drafted into the military in 1964, where it is believed he first realized he was homosexual.[5] He was given a military discharge after serving 10 months so that he could help his mother run her candy business. He eventually took over the business and invited local children to the store for free candy. A number of local people commented that it was not normal that Corll always seemed to hang around with youngsters, in particular teenaged boys. However, no one made the connection with the subsequent rash of missing youths.

Following the failure of her third marriage in 1968, Corll’s mother moved to Colorado. Although they often talked on the telephone, she was never to see her son again. The candy company began to fail and, like his father, Dean took a job as an electrician at the Houston Lighting and Power Company.[6] He worked there until the day he was killed by Wayne Henley.


All of the victims of Dean Corll were young males between the ages of 13 and 20. Corll’s first known victim was an 18-year-old college freshman named Jeffrey Konen, who vanished on September 25, 1970, while hitchhiking with another student from the University of Texas to his parents’ home in Houston.[7] Konen was dropped off alone at the corner of Westheimer Road and South Voss Road near the Uptown District of West Houston. At the time, Corll was living in an apartment on Yorktown Street near the intersection with Westheimer Road. Konen likely accepted an offer by Corll to take him to his parents’ home in the Braeswood Place-West University Place area.

Unlike Konen, the majority of victims were in their mid-teens and most had been abducted from Houston Heights, which was then a low-income neighborhood north west of downtown Houston. One of the victims, 15-year-old Homer Garcia, met Henley at his driving school education class and was invited to Corll’s for “a party”.[8] Many were listed by police as runaways despite the anxious protests of parents who insisted that their boys would not run away from home. Quite often the victims, alone or in pairs, were invited to Corll’s parties. Several were friends of either Henley or Brooks and two, Malley Winkle and Billy Baulch, had actually worked for Corll’s candy business in the late 1960s.

The known victims, all of whom had been either shot, strangled, or both, that have been identified by police:[9][10]

  • September 25, 1970: Jeffrey Konen, 18. Picked up by Corll while hitchhiking to Houston. He was buried at High Island beach.[11]
  • December 15, 1970: Danny Yates, 14. Was lured with his friend James Glass by David Brooks to Corll’s Columbia Street apartment while attending a religious rally.
  • December 15, 1970: James Glass, 14. Was an acquaintance of Corll. He and his friend were strangled before being buried in Corll’s boatshed.
  • January 30, 1971: Donald Waldrop, 15. Vanished on his way to visit a bowling alley. According to Brooks, Donald’s father, who was a builder, was working on the apartment next to Corll’s at the time Donald was murdered.[12]
  • January 30, 1971: Jerry Waldrop, 13. Was strangled along with his brother and buried in Corll’s boatshed. Corll placed his I.D. card alongside his body.
  • March 9, 1971: Randell Lee Harvey, 15. Disappeared on his way home from his job at a Fina gas station, he was shot in the head and buried in Corll’s boatshed. Remains identified on October 17, 2008.
  • May 29, 1971: David Hilligeist, 13. Vanished on his way to a local swimming pool. He was one of Henley’s earliest childhood friends.
  • May 29, 1971: Malley Winkle, 16. Former employee of Corll’s candy store and boyfriend of Randell Lee Harvey’s sister. Was last seen alongside his friend David Hilligeist climbing into a white van.
  • August 17, 1971: Ruben Watson, 17. Vanished on his way to the local cinema. Ruben was the final identified victim to vanish before Henley began to participate in the abductions and murders.
  • March 24, 1972: Frank Aguirre, 18. Was the boyfriend of Rhonda Williams, whose presence in Corll’s house sparked the fatal confrontation between Henley and Corll. He was buried at High Island beach.[13]
  • May 21, 1972: Johnny Delome, 16. Disappeared on his way to the local store. He was shot in the head, then strangled by Henley.[14]
  • May 21, 1972: Billy Baulch, 17. Vanished with his friend Johnny Delome. Had also worked as a candy seller for Corll in the late 60’s. He was buried at High Island beach.
  • October 2, 1972: Wally Jay Simoneaux, 14. Vanished on his way to spend the night with his friend.[15]
  • October 2, 1972: Richard Hembree, 13. Was last seen with his friend in a white van parked outside a grocery store, he was buried in Corll’s boatshed.
  • December 22, 1972: Mark Scott, 18. Was killed at Corll’s Schuler Street address. He was a friend of both Henley and Brooks.
  • June 4, 1973: Billy Ray Lawrence, 15. Was kept alive by Corll for four days before he was killed and buried at Lake Sam Rayburn. He was a friend of Henley.
  • June 15, 1973: Ray Blackburn, 20. From Louisiana. He was married and had a child.
  • July 7, 1973: Homer Garcia, 15. Met Henley at driving school. He was shot and buried at Lake Sam Rayburn.[16]
  • July 19, 1973: Tony Baulch, 15. Corll had killed his older brother Billy the previous year. He was buried in Corll’s boatshed.
  • July 25, 1973: Marty Jones, 18. Was last seen along with his friend, Charles Cobble, in the company of Henley.
  • July 25, 1973: Charles Cary Cobble, 17. A school friend of Wayne Henley. His body, shot twice in the head, was found in the boatshed.[17]
  • August 3, 1973: James Dreymala, 13. Was Corll’s last victim and was lured to Corll’s Pasadena apartment on the pretext of collecting empty coke bottles to re-sell.

Footnote: A possible 28th victim, identified November 11, 2009 through DNA analysis as seveteen-year-old Joseph Allen Lyles, is suspected to be another victim of Corll. Lyles disappeared in February 1973. His remains were found on a beach in Jefferson County in 1983. Although yet to be conclusively established as a further victim of Corll, the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and the fact he was buried in a manner similar to other victims strongly suggest he was another victim of Dean Corll.[18]

More victims?

Forty-two boys had vanished within the Houston area since 1970.[19] The police were heavily criticized for curtailing the search for further victims once mass killer Juan Corona’s macabre record for most victims had been surpassed. After finding the 26th and 27th bodies, tied together, at High Island beach, the search was called off. A curious feature about this final discovery was the presence of two extra bones (an arm bone and a pelvis) in the grave, indicating at least one further victim awaiting discovery. The search for further bodies at the beach was abandoned on August 13, 1973, despite Henley’s insistence there were a further two bodies buried on the beach in 1972.

Fellow workers at the Corll candy company recalled Corll doing a lot of digging in the years leading up to 1968, when his mother’s third marriage was deteriorating and the firm was failing. Corll stated he was burying spoiled candy to avoid contamination by insects. He subsequently cemented over the floor. He was also observed digging in waste ground that was later converted into a car park.

Former employees also recalled that Corll had rolls of clear plastic of precisely the same type used to bury his victims. The suspicion is that Corll may have begun killing much earlier than 1970. A five and a half month gap between the killings of Mark Scott and Billy Ray Lawrence is extremely unusual for a serial killer. Police in nearby Galveston County had received reports of three men observed digging on the beach in March 1973. However, police were again unwilling to extend the search.[20]


At approximately 3 a.m. on August 8, 1973, Henley, then aged 17, went to Corll’s house accompanied by a 19-year-old Tim Kerley, who was supposed to be the next victim. Also with them was Rhonda Williams, 15, who was Henley’s girlfriend. David Brooks was not present at the time. Corll was furious that Henley had brought a girl along, but eventually he calmed down and the four of them began drinking. Henley, Kerley and Williams all passed out and awoke to find themselves tied up and Corll waving a .22-caliber pistol around, angrily threatening to kill them all. Henley calmed Corll, and the older man eventually put down the gun and released Henley.[21] Corll then insisted that while he would rape and kill Kerley, Henley would do likewise to Rhonda Williams.[22] Henley refused, and a fight broke out between him and Corll. It ended when Henley grabbed the pistol and shot Corll six times in the head, back and shoulder, killing him almost instantly. After releasing the other two youngsters, Henley called the police. While they all waited on the porch outside the house for the police to arrive, Henley told Kerley: “I could have gotten $200 for you”,[23] this apparently being the fee he was paid by Corll to recruit victims. In custody, Henley explained that he and Brooks had helped procure boys, some of whom were their own friends, for
Corll, who had raped and murdered them. Police were skeptical at first, as they assumed they were dealing with just the Corll homicide, ascribed to a result of drug-fuelled fisticuffs that had turned deadly. Henley was quite insistent, however, and upon Henley recalling the names of three boys – Cobble, Hilligeist and Jones – that had been procured by himself and Brooks for Corll, police accepted that there was something to his claims, especially when they found a torture board at Corll’s house, consisting of a large wooden board with handcuffs in each corner. There were also a number of dildos and lengths of rope, as well as a wooden crate with what appeared to be airholes. Human hair was found inside it.

Later that day, accompanied by his father, Brooks presented himself at the police station, and he was promptly questioned about the allegations made by Henley. The police went to the boatshed in Southwest Houston, which Corll had rented since November 17, 1970, where Henley said that bodies of most of the victims could be found. They began digging through the soft earth and soon uncovered the body of a teenaged boy, face up, encased in clear plastic. They continued excavating, and the remains of more dead boys were uncovered, several wrapped in plastic. Some had been shot, others strangled, the ligature still wrapped tightly around their necks. Some had been castrated. Their pubic hairs had been plucked out. Objects had been inserted into their rectums, and glass rods had been shoved into their urethrae and smashed. Their genitals had been removed and all had been sodomized. Eventually 17 corpses were uncovered at the shed. Following Henley’s directions, police excavated a number of other locations, including Crystal Beach, located along the Bolivar Peninsula, in nearby eastern Galveston County, where the police found the bodies of six further boys, and within the woodland surrounding Lake Sam Rayburn, where the bodies of a further four boys were found, making a total of 27 victims. Henley initially insisted that there were two more bodies to be found inside the boatshed, and also that the bodies of a further two boys had been buried at High Island beach in 1972.[24] At the time, however, it was the worst case of serial murder (in terms of number of victims) in the United States, exceeding the 25 murders attributed to Juan Corona from California. The Houston Mass Murders, as they became known, hit the headlines all over the world, and even Pope Paul VI commented on the atrocious nature of the crimes and offered sympathy to relatives of those who had died. Families of the victims — including two who had lost two sons each to Corll — were highly critical of the Houston Police Department, which had been so quick to list the missing boys as runaways and not worthy of investigation.

In October 2008, Sharon Derrick, a forensic anthropologist with the medical examiner’s office in Houston, released digital images of three victims that had still not been identified 35 years later. They were listed as ML73-3349, ML73-3356 and ML73-3378.[25] In October 2008, ML73-3349 was identified as Randall Lee Harvey, a Houston teenager who had gone missing on March 9, 1971. Harvey, who had been shot in the head, was wearing a navy blue jacket with red lining, jeans and lace-up boots. A plastic orange pocket comb was also found alongside his body.[26]


  1. ^ Bardsley, Marilyn. “The Sex, Sadism and Slaughter of Houston’s Candy Man.” Crime Library. 2.
  2. ^ Ancestry of Dean Corll“. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  3. ^ The Man With The Candy ISBN 978-0743212830 p 175-176
  4. ^ Real-Life Crimes issue 130 ISBN 1-85875-449-6, p 2851
  5. ^
  6. ^ Real-Life Crimes issue 130 ISBN 1-85875-449-6, p 2851
  7. ^ Konen Death Certificate 74771
  8. ^ The Man With The Candy ISBN 978-0743212830 p 161
  9. ^ The Man With The Candy ISBN 978-0743212830
  10. ^ Harvest Of Horror, 1975
  11. ^ Konen was born 20 November 1951 per death certificate.
  12. ^ The Man With The Candy ISBN 978-0743212830 p 136
  13. ^ Harvest Of Horror, David Hanna, 1975, p 181
  14. ^ The victims surname was spelled Delome. The Man With The Candy ISBN 978-0743212830 p 57.
  15. ^ Real-Life Crimes issue 130 ISBN 1-85875-449-6, p 2854
  16. ^ Harvest Of Horror, p 181
  17. ^ The Man With The Candy ISBN 978-0743212830 p 113
  18. ^
  19. ^ Murder In Mind issue 80 ISSN 1364-5803
  20. ^ Real-Life Crimes issue 130 ISBN 1-85875-449-6, p 2855
  21. ^
  22. ^ Dean Corll- The Sex, Sadism and Slaughter of Houston’s Candy Man“. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  23. ^ The Man With The Candy ISBN 978-0743212830 p 102
  24. ^ The Man With The Candy ISBN 978-0743212830 p 150
  25. ^ Coroner still seeks three victims’ names after 35 years“. Texarkana Gazette.–12.php. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  26. ^ [1][dead link]


  • John K. Gurwell. Mass Murder in Houston. Cordovan Press, 1974.
  • David Hanna. Harvest of Horror: Mass Murder in Houston. Belmont Tower, 1975.
  • Brian Lane and Wilfred Gregg. The New Encyclopedia Of Serial Killers. Headline Book Publishing, (Revised Edition 1996). ISBN 0-7472-5361-7
  • Jack Olsen. The Man With The Candy: The Story of the Houston Mass Murders. Simon & Schuster, 1974. ISBN 0-7432-1283-5

FOX News Network, LLC. 11/12/2009. New Victim of 1970s Serial Killer Identified,2933,574288,00.html

External links

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