Henry Lee Lucas confessed to killing hundreds of people in the Eighties — but it’s unclear whether he actually killed all of them. As such, he is single-handedly responsible for hundreds of unsolved murders; he likely confessed to murders he didn’t commit, thus ending investigations into cases that should not yet be closed.
Lucas is the subject of Netflix’s newest true crime docuseries The Confession Killer, debuting December 6th. The five-part series was directed by Oscar nominee Robert Kenner (Food Inc.) and Taki Oldham.
Lucas was sent to prison in the early Sixties for beating his mother to death and spent the next few decades in and out of incarceration. In the early Eighties, once more in prison, he claimed to have killed 600 people around the country.
He died in prison at age 64; according to the New York Times, he was the only death row inmate spared a the death penalty by George W. Bush when he was governor of Texas. The docuseries trailer shows Lucas reveling in the attention law enforcement gave him due to these possibly false confessions, showering him with smiles and milkshakes. Lucas was the inspiration for the 1986 film, Henry: Portrait for a Serial Killer, a thriller about a killer who goes on a cross-country murder spree.
Despite the fact that he later recanted many of these confessions, Ken Anderson — the district attorney who prosecuted Lucas for the 1979 bludgeoning of an unknown woman that landed him on death row — has asserted that Lucas was likely still a serial killer. ”It’s difficult to imagine you can rely on anything he said, but the fact remains he was a serial killer, even though we’re unable to pinpoint the exact number,” he said.
In October, 79-year-old Samuel Little was dubbed the most prolific serial killer in the U.S. by the FBI. He has confessed to 93 murders, 50 of which the FBI can confirm. Little and the FBI are currently looking to ID his unknown victims.