Henry Lee Lucas was a murderer born on August 23, 1936 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Both his parents were alcoholics, introducing Henry to alcohol at a young age. Henry‘s mother, Viola Lucas was a prostitute ruled the household, a one-room log cabin, dishing out abuse not only to her children but regularly to her husband, Anderson Lucas who was a former railroad employee who had lost both of his legs.
Lucas was the youngest of their nine children when he was just eight years old he was beaten by her on the head with a wooden plank so hard that he spent three days in a coma. There was also an incident where Lucas was given a mule as a gift from his father friend only to see his mother shoot and kill it, just out of spite. A horrible woman and mother, Viola would also make Lucas watch her have sex with her lover, “Uncle Bernie”, and a number of strange men and dress him up in girls’ clothing.
When Lucas was ten years old, he suffered an accidental injury to his left eye during a fight with his brother and the injury was ignored by Viola for days until it was infected so badly that the eye had to be removed and replaced with a glass eye. By that age, Lucas was already almost an alcoholic and his older half-brother and Uncle Bernie had introduced him to bestiality (sex with animals) and animal torture.
In 1949, Henry’s father Anderson Lucas passed away from hypothermia after passing out drunk in a blizzard. Shortly after this, aged nearly 15, Lucas committed his first murder. By his own less-than-reliable account, he had his first human sexual experience, abducting an unknown teenage girl from a bus stop, beating her unconscious and then raping her and strangling her to death. He said the reason he murdered this teenage girl was to see what it was like to have sex with a human.
The next year, Lucas received his first prison sentence when he and two of his half-brothers were arrested for burglary. He spent a year at a school for juvenile delinquents in Beaumont, which with its electricity and running water was luxurious to Henry compared to the cabin he lived in. In June 1954, he was sentenced to six years’ incarceration for a dozen counts of burglary and was released on September 2, 1959, after two failed escape attempts. He moved to his sister’s place in Tecumseh, Michigan, but his mother Viola soon got back in touch. When she wanted him to come back to take care of her, they got into an argument that resulted in her death when he stabbed her in the neck, causing her to have a fatal heart attack. Though he claimed self-defense, he was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison, serving just ten years.
As soon as he was released, he got another three and a half years for trying to kidnap two girls. Released yet again, he moved to Pennsylvania and got married in 1975, but abandoned his wife when she accused him of molesting her daughters. That’s when the one-eyed killer started to travel and in 1976, he met Ottis Toole, a fellow sexual deviant from Jacksonville, Florida.
Henry Lucas had claimed to have committed a number of murders (shortly after his arrest he confessed to having killed 60 people, a number he raised to 100 while in court, and outside of court he claimed to have committed up to 3000 murders. He later recanted the confessions. He received a death sentence for the murder of an unidentified woman in Texas, but the penalty was commuted to life imprisonment on the basis of evidence that he was likely in Florida on the date of that murder.
Even though Lucas had confessed to murdering hundreds of people, no proof existed beyond three known victims. Lucas died in a Texas prison from natural causes on March 12, 2001.