Dean Arnold Corll (December 24, 1939 – August 8, 1973) was an American serial killer who, along with two teenaged accomplices named David Owen Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley Jr, abducted, raped, tortured, and murdered at least 28 teenage boys and young men in a series of killings between 1970 and 1973 in Houston, Texas. The crimes, which became known as the Houston Mass Murders, came to light after Henley fatally shot Corll.
Corll's victims were typically lured with an offer of a party or a lift to a succession of addresses in which he resided between 1970 and 1973. They would then be restrained either by force or deception, and each was killed either by strangulation or shooting with a .22-caliber pistol. Corll and his accomplices buried 17 of their victims in a rented boat shed; four other victims were buried in woodland near Lake Sam Rayburn; one victim was buried on a beach in Jefferson County; and at least six victims were buried on a beach on the Bolivar Peninsula. Brooks and Henley confessed to assisting Corll in several abductions and murders; both were sentenced to life imprisonment at their subsequent trials.
Corll was also known as the Candy Man and the Pied Piper, because he and his family had owned and operated a candy factory in Houston Heights, and he had been known to give free candy to local children.
When discovered, the Houston Mass Murders were considered the worst example of serial murder in American history up to that point.
Corll killed his first known victim, an 18-year-old college freshman, Jeffrey Konen, on September 25, 1970. Konen vanished while hitchhiking with another student from the University of Texas to his parents' home in Houston. He was dropped off alone at the corner of Westheimer Road and South Voss Road near the Uptown area of Houston. Corll likely offered Konen a lift to his parents' home, which Konen evidently accepted. At the time of Konen's disappearance, Corll lived in an apartment on Yorktown Street, near the intersection with Westheimer Road.
David Brooks led police to the body of Jeffrey Konen on August 10, 1973. The body was buried at High Island Beach. Forensic scientists subsequently deduced that the youth had died of asphyxiation caused by manual strangulation and a cloth gag that had been placed in his mouth. The body was found buried beneath a large boulder, covered with a layer of lime, wrapped in plastic, naked, and bound hand and foot, suggesting he had been violated.
About the time of Konen's murder, David Brooks interrupted Corll in the act of sexually assaulting two teenage boys whom he (Corll) had strapped to a four-poster bed. Corll promised Brooks a car in return for his silence; Brooks accepted the offer and Corll later bought him a green Chevrolet Corvette. Corll later told Brooks that he had killed the two youths, and offered him $200 for any boy he could lure to Corll's apartment.
On December 13, 1970, Brooks lured two 14-year-old Spring Branch youths named James Glass and Danny Yates away from a religious rally held in the Heights district of Houston to Corll's Yorktown apartment. Glass was an acquaintance of Brooks who, at Brooks' behest, had previously visited Corll's address. Both youths were tied to opposite sides of Corll's torture board and subsequently raped, strangled and buried in a boat shed he had rented on November 17.
Six weeks after the double murder of Glass and Yates, on January 30, 1971, Brooks and Corll encountered two teenage brothers, Donald and Jerry Waldrop, walking toward their parents' home. The Waldrop brothers had been driven to a friend's home by their father with plans to discuss forming a bowling league, and had begun walking home after learning their friend was not at home. Both boys were enticed into Corll's van and driven to an apartment Corll had rented on Mangum Road, where they were raped, tortured, strangled and subsequently buried in the boat shed.
Between March and May 1971, Corll abducted and killed three victims; all of whom lived in Houston Heights and all of whom were buried toward the rear of the rented boat shed. In each of these abductions, Brooks is known to have been a participant. One of these three victims, 15-year-old Randell Harvey, was last seen by his family on the afternoon of March 9 cycling towards Oak Forest, where he worked part-time as a gas station attendant. Harvey was driven to Corll's Mangum Road apartment, where he was subsequently killed by a single gunshot to the head. The other two victims, 13-year-old David Hilligiest and 16-year-old Gregory Malley Winkle, were abducted and killed together on the afternoon of May 29, 1971.
As had been the case with parents of other victims of Corll, both sets of parents launched a frantic search for their sons. One of the youths who voluntarily offered to distribute posters the parents had printed offering a reward for information leading to the boys' whereabouts was 15-year-old Elmer Wayne Henley—a lifelong friend of Hilligiest. The youth pinned the reward posters around the Heights and attempted to reassure Hilligiest's parents that there may be an innocent explanation for the boys' absence.
On August 17, 1971, Corll and Brooks encountered a 17-year-old acquaintance of Brooks named Ruben Watson Haney walking home from a movie theater in Houston. Brooks persuaded Haney to attend a party at an address Corll had moved to on San Felipe Street the previous month. Haney agreed and was taken to Corll's home where he was subsequently strangled and buried in the boat shed.
In September 1971, Corll moved to another apartment in the Heights. Brooks later stated he had assisted Corll in the abduction and murder of two youths during the time Corll resided at this address, including one youth who was killed "just before Wayne Henley came into the picture." In his confession, Brooks stated the youth killed immediately prior to Henley's involvement in the murders was abducted from the Heights and kept alive for approximately four days before his murder. The identity of both of these two victims remains unknown.
- Jeffrey Alan Konen, 18
- James Eugene Glass, 14
- Danny Michael Yates, 14
- Donald Wayne Waldrop, 15
- Jerry Lynn Waldrop, 13
- Randell Lee Harvey, 15
- David William Hilligiest, 13
- Gregory Malley Winkle, 16
- Ruben Willfard Watson Haney, 17
- Willard Karmon Branch, Jr. 17
- Frank Anthony Aguirre, 18
- Mark Steven Scott, 17
- Johnny Ray Delome, 16
- Billy Gene Baulch Jr., 17
- Steven Kent Sickman, 17
- Roy Eugene Bunton, 19
- Wally Jay Simoneaux, 14
- Richard Edward Hembree, 13
- Richard Alan Kepner, 19
- Joseph Allen Lyles, 17
- William Ray Lawrence, 15
- Raymond Stanley Blackburn, 20
- Homer Luis Garcia, 15
- John Manning Sellars, 17
- Michael Anthony Baulch, 15
- Marty Ray Jones, 18
- Charles Cary Cobble, 17
- James Stanton Dreymala, 13