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The Texas Following: Under a serial killer’s spell Part 1

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Inside an East Texas prison, 56-year-old convicted killer Elmer Wayne Henley recalls his childhood.

"I came from a loving home. My mother and my grandmother loved us and raised us correctly, I went to church and Boy Scouts. My father was abusive and an alcoholic."

Perhaps that's why Henley looked for attention and approval from Dean Corll, a man Henley met when he was a teenager in the early 1970s in Houston. Corll allegedly told Henley he would pay him to bring him boys for a fictitious slave trade organization. Eventually Henley took him up on his offer.

"When he led me to do things that weren't right, rather than make the correct decision, I deferred to him."

According to police, Henley and another boy, David Brooks, would lure teenage boys to Corll's home, often by offering them drugs and alcohol. Then Corll would sexually assault and torture the boys before killing them.

Henley claims it was months before he found out the boys were being killed and that he was too scared to go to police.

"Dean's gonna get me, the police are gonna execute me, so I won't take action for fear that I may suffer a future harm and that's not thinking right."

Rather than try to stop Corll, Henley helped him bury bodies and eventually began participating in the killings which were fueled by drugs and alcohol.

"I think if I hadn't had the drugs, alcohol in particular, my morals would have come forth sooner than the 17 months it took."

Henley says he was operating under Corll's spell in a way and because of this, he doesn't believe he should be called a serial killer.

"I don't like it. I'm not a serial killer. I was an accomplice to a serial killer. I was not the driving force to those crimes."

But, he did confess to killing and is ultimately responsible for the pain of all the families of his victims and those he led to Corll whose lives ended in terror.

As for exactly why he killed, Henley doesn't fully answer that.

"Teenagers can become involved with other people or elements they don't have control of."

Wayne Henley has spent nearly four decades behind bars. He says in that time he's become a much different man than the teenager he once was.

"There's a Wayne before Dean Corll got him involved in that, there's a Wayne after, but the person I had become at the time, under Dean's thrall, was not someone I was happy with it. What was going on was never something I was at ease with."

In August of 1973, after a night of partying at Corll's home, Henley says he was about to become Corll's next victim. Before that could happen, he grabbed a gun that was in the room and shot and killed Corll. Then he called police and confessed.

"Going to police was the only thing left I could do for those people, those boys, they needed to come home."

Henley led investigators to where many of the bodies were buried in Corll's storage shed near a Texas beach. In all, nearly 30 bodies were found. Henley was later charged with the murders of six boys and given six life sentences. Families of the victims have fought to make sure Henley stays behind bars for good.

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