H U N T S V I L L E, Texas, March 13, 2001 -- Henry Lee Lucas, one of Texas’ most
notorious convicted murderers, died late Monday in prison where he
was serving sentences for nine murders.
Lucas, who was best known for making bogus confessions thatprompted law officers nationwide to clear hundreds of unsolvedkillings, was found dead in his bed at the Ellis I prison unit, theTexas Department of Criminal Justice said.
The one-eyed ex-drifter, who was in his mid-60s, was narrowlysaved from execution in 1998 when then-Gov. George W. Bush commuteda death sentence to life in prison because of flimsy evidence inhis capital case.
Lucas’ body was found shortly before 11 p.m. CST Monday, saiddepartment spokesman Larry Fitzgerald. He said the death appearedto be from natural causes.
History of Heart Problems
Lucas had a history of heart problems and had been previouslyhospitalized. His body was taken to the Huntsville Funeral Home,Fitzgerald said, where it will be determined whether there arerelatives who want to claim the remains.
Although physical evidence linked Lucas to only two murders, hisconfession spree prompted authorities to clear their books of morethan 600 unsolved killings. Many never were reopened.
In 1999, Lucas told reporters he had become fascinated by RafaelResendez-Ramirez, the fugitive authorities had connected with atleast eight slayings in Texas, Kentucky and Illinois.
'I Made the Police Look Stupid'
“He’s really playing cat-and-mouse with the FBI,” Henry LeeLucas told the Houston Chronicle at the time. “I follow his caseon the TV. ... I’d like to meet him.”
“If this was 1983,” Lucas said, “I’d claim these murders,too. ... I made the police look stupid. I was out to wreck Texaslaw enforcement.”
Fitzgerald said that Lucas had been in state custody since 1985and spent most of his time working as a sewing machine operator ina garment factory that produces trousers for correctional officers’uniforms.
“He spent all of his time running the sewing machine,” hesaid. “He was our best.”