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Self-Proclaimed Mass Slayer Exaggerated Toll, Official Says

May 07, 1986|Associated Press

AUSTIN, Tex. — Self-proclaimed mass killer Henry Lee Lucas committed far fewer than the 300-plus slayings he boasted of, and his bogus confessions closed cases that should remain open, Texas' attorney general said today.

"There is no doubt that Henry Lee Lucas is a murderer, but it is highly unlikely that Lucas could have committed many of the murders to which he confessed," Atty. Gen. Jim Mattox.

"Unfortunately, when Lucas was confessing to hundreds of murders, those with custody of Lucas did nothing to bring an end to his hoax."

Mattox's comments came as he released a report of a yearlong investigation of Lucas cases.

Lucas confessed to more than 360 killings nationwide. However, about a year ago, the drifter recanted confessions in all but three.

He has been convicted of 10 murders and is awaiting execution for the 1979 slaying of an unidentified woman near Georgetown.

"I urge any jurisdiction with a case in which Henry Lee Lucas is a suspect to polygraph Lucas or conduct a sodium pentothal examination and to very carefully scrutinize his confession," Mattox said.

Col. Jim Adams, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said there is no doubt that Lucas committed numerous killings.

He also said the Texas Ranger task force that handled Lucas informed other law-enforcement agencies that he often lied.

Except for his confessions to the killings of his mother in Michigan in 1961 and of Frieda (Becky) Powell and Kate Rich in Texas in 1982, Mattox said, "there is a notable lack of physical evidence linking Lucas to the crimes to which he confessed. Lucas did not lead authorities to any bodies of victims."

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