Families seek to keep killer in Houston mass murders behind bars


by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News


Posted on October 31, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 31 at 6:40 PM

HOUSTON -- Elmer Wayne Henley has spent more time behind bars than free. The case that put him in prison is known as the Houston Mass Murders, and there were 28 known victims.

Henley led investigators to bodies of young men who had been tortured and killed, then buried all over the Houston area. 

The murders didn't end until Henley killed his partner, Dean Coryl, in 1973.

“I grew up in Pasadena when this was going on, when they were discovering the bodies. In that boat house and High Island,” Mike Anderson remembered.

Two victims are still unidentified.

“Horrible, horrible crimes he done to those young boys. My God,” recalled Lloyd Oliver.

Despite being sentenced to six consecutive 99-year terms Henley is already eligible for parole.

He was just denied parole again this week.

A group of victims’ family members were hoping to push whoever is the next Harris County DA to prosecute Henley for any of the victims identified since he was sent to prison in the 1970s. That way, they wouldn't have to spend the rest of their lives fighting to keep Henley behind bars.

We took that idea to Democratic candidate for Harris County DA Lloyd Oliver, who suggested an unorthodox idea.

“Let’s see if we can get some sort of agreement with him and with the victim’s families where he could do another 50 years and we’ll just let him out. No parole, no nothing. Let him out,” he said.

Henley would be 106.

Republican candidate Mike Anderson is open to the idea of a new trial.

“If a police agency brings a case with evidence that appears it could sustain a conviction the DA should pursue that case. The consideration has got to be: is it the right thing to do to promote justice in this community and get justice for those that lost their sons?” he said.

Too many of those families are still reliving horror from decades past.