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The serial killer's apprentice : the true story of how Houston's deadliest murderer turned a kid into a killing machine   Cover Image Book Book

The serial killer's apprentice : the true story of how Houston's deadliest murderer turned a kid into a killing machine / Katherine Ramsland and Tracy Ulmann.


Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr. was only fourteen when he first became entangled with serial rapist and murderer Dean Corll in 1971. Fellow Houston, Texas, teenager David Brooks had already been ensnared by the charming older man, bribed with cash to help lure boys to Corll's home. When Henley unwittingly entered the trap, Corll evidently sensed he'd be of more use as a second accomplice than another victim. He baited Henley with the same deal he'd given Brooks: 200 for each boy they could bring him. Henley didn't understand the full extent of what he had signed up for at first. But once he started, Corll convinced him that he had crossed the line of no return and had to not only procure boys but help kill them and dispose of the bodies, as well. When Henley first took a life, he lost his moral base. He felt doomed. By the time he was seventeen, he'd helped with multiple murders and believed he'd be killed, too. But on August 8, 1973, he picked up a gun and shot Corll. When he turned himself in, Henley showed police where he and Brooks had buried Corll's victims in mass graves. Twenty-eight bodies were recovered--most of them boys from Henley's neighborhood--making this the worst case of serial murder in America at the time. The case reveals gross failures in the way cops handled parents' pleas to look for their missing sons and how law enforcement possibly protected a larger conspiracy. The Serial Killer's Apprentice tells the story of Corll and his accomplices in its fullest form to date. It also explores the concept of “mur-dar” (the predator's instinct for exploitable kids), current neuroscience about adolescent brain vulnerabilities, the role of compartmentalization, the dynamic of a murder apprenticeship, and how tales like Henley's can aid with early intervention. Despite his youth and cooperation, Henley went to trial and received six life sentences. He's now sixty-five and has a sense of perspective about how adult predators can turn formerly good kids into criminals. Unexpectedly, he's willing to talk. This book is his warning and the story of the unspeakable evil and sorrow that befell Houston in the early 1970s. -- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781613164952
  • ISBN: 1613164955
  • Physical Description: xii, 306 pages : illustrations, facsimiles ; 23 cm
  • Publisher: New York : Crime Ink, an imprint of Penzler Publishers, 2024.

Content descriptions

Formatted Contents Note:
Killing the candy man -- Bait a kid, make a killer -- Enter Henley -- No easy out -- The candy men -- Trials and troubles -- The right hook -- Closer than they appear -- Appendix A: Photos -- Appendix B: The victim locations and identifications -- Appendix C: David Brooks statements -- Appendix D: Elmer Wayne Henley Jr. Statements.
Subject: Corll, Dean, 1939-1973.
Henley, Elmer Wayne Jr, 1956-
Brooks, David (David O.)
Serial murderers > Texas > Houston.
Serial murders > Texas > Houston.
Child grooming (Child sexual abuse).
Sex offenders.
Missing children.
Genre: Informational works.
True crime stories.
Illustrated works.

Available copies

  • 3 of 5 copies available at Missouri Evergreen. (Show)
  • 2 of 3 copies available at Jefferson County.


  • 0 current holds with 5 total copies.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Jefferson County Library-Arnold 364.1523 RAMSLAND (Text) 30061100287255 New Books Available -
Jefferson County Library-Northwest 364.1523 RAMSLAND (Text) 30051100287264 New Books Checked out 06/08/2024
Jefferson County Library-Windsor 364.1523 RAMSLAND (Text) 30065100287272 New Books Available -

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