Henry Lee Lucas
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Henry Lee Lucas (August 23, 1936 – March 12, 2001) was an American convicted serial killer whose crimes spanned from 1960 to 1983. He was convicted of murdering eleven people and condemned to death for the murder of Debra Jackson, although his sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1998. Lucas rose to infamy after confessing to more than 100 murders to the Texas Rangers and other law enforcement officials while in prison. He died of congestive heart failure in 2001.
An investigation by the Dallas Times-Herald newspaper later discredited many of Lucas’ murder confessions and resulted in a follow-up investigation by the Attorney General of Texas. The investigation concluded that Lucas was a fabulist who had falsely confessed. Lucas himself recanted the confessions as a hoax.
Lucas’ case resulted in a re-evaluation in police techniques and greater awareness of false confessions. Investigators did not consider that the petty privileges – fancy steak dinners, milkshakes, TV privileges – granted by the “confession” interviews would prompt further confessions. Investigators also allowed Lucas to see case files to “refresh his memory,” giving him access to knowledge only perpetrators would know.