Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Candyland Appears Each Time You Smile- Dean Corll and The Boys of The Heights

The story of Dean Corll and his consequent recognition as having an unparalleled record of murder (until John Wayne Gacy) remains one of the most under-publicized and unscrutinized tales of serial murder, torture, and sexual sadism. It is understandable that the murders of 28+ teenage boys would not be easily romanticized or commercialized in the same fashion as the Tate Murders or the Aileen Wuornos franchise. After all this wasn't a gorgeous starlet shred to ribbons by psychotic hipsters or the novelty of an aggressive female killer, but instead an adult man who with the help of two teenage boys hand-plucked their childhood friends from a low-income Houston neighborhood in order to systematically destroy like discarded candy wrappers.
The intensity surrounding Dean's insatiable desire to rape, torture, mutilate, and eventually murder young boys was seemingly in direct contrast to the image of a man that co-owned the Corll Candy Company with his mother. Yes, Dean was quite literally "The Candy Man".
In fact Dean's reputation and social interactions in and around Houston paint an entirely different portrait of a man whose mother continued to insist that her son was being framed in death by his teenage accomplices, David Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley.

L: David Brooks R: Elmer Wayne Henley identifying grave sites at High Island Beach
Perhaps what is most intriguing is the group dynamic that must have existed between the teenage accomplices and Dean Corll suggesting a seemingly equal and sinister pathology among the trio. One of the most chilling sections in "The Man With The Candy" (the only book published about the murders) is not the descriptions of the decaying bodies or the piles of teen-boy size clothing, but of an interaction between Wayne Henley and a neighbor; who happened to be the mother of one of the "missing boys". The book details this interaction using Henley's known rural Texan dialect to state to the frantic mother, "I rilly, rilly feel, ya know, sorry for y'all and mah heart jes' goes out to yew. David could still be rat around here. Sometimes the parents cain't see the kids and the kids cain't see the parents. He could be rat under yer nose and yew woultn't even know it."
Imagine Mrs. Hilligiest finding out that her 13 year old son David, who had been a childhood friend of Wayne Henley, had been been one of the boys that had glass test tubes shoved up his urethra and smashed while still alive.
One of the three widely published photos of Dean Corll.
In retrospect Dean Corll displayed many behaviors that can later be attributed to his alleged pedophilia, such as actively hiring only teenage boys to work in the candy factory, providing adolescents with alcohol, illegal drugs, and a space to "party", as well as providing financial rewards to David and Wayne. At the monetary apex Dean even bought David Brooks a green Corvette in order to placate the teenager after having seen a boy strapped onto the torture board. Brooks was quoted as saying, "Once you were on that board, you were as good as dead." Was this threesome an example of Shared Psychotic Disorder, perhaps a folie a trois?
Or was the savage rampage the innate desire of one, the sociopathic drive of another, and the apathetic avarice of a third?

Crime scene photo of Dean Corll's body after having been shot by Elmer Wayne Henley

The tale of torture and murder unfolded quite unexpectedly in the hands of the Houston Police Department after Wayne Henley shot Corll in self-defense after discovering himself as the next victim for having made the mistake of bringing a female into the butcher's abode. One of the more disturbing details surrounding this case is Henley's delusion about being set free since he was kind enough to show the cops where all of the rotting bodies were for nearly all the area's male missing persons cases from the past decade. While both David and Wayne are serving life sentences for their active roles in the deaths of more than 28 teenage boys neither has provided any illumination as to how they participated in acts of rape, torture, and murder. What we, as a society, are left with is the question of how murders are more or less sensationalized based on the comfort of the collective memory. Had Dean Corll created a female teen bloodbath perhaps we would be renting "The Candy Man- Based on true events" from a Red Box machine. Pedophilia does not do well in theaters.

Torture board recovered from the home of Dean Corll

One of the media coup's in this case came from a radio station who procured an interview with a nineteen year old who had a three month tryst with Dean Corll, and went under the assumed name Guy. The young man told a similar story as Dean's mother about a quiet, reserved man who was extremely gentle and sensitive. As it may be, Guy's interactions with Dean may have been the personality that Dean hoped would conquer the person capable of castrating boys while still alive and then storing said genitals in plastic bags along side the plastic and lime encrusted bodies.
As the current generation we will never have the experience of truly understanding the reality that happened between Dean, David, Wayne, and all of those boys; found and unfound, identified and those still waiting to be claimed. One can only speculate that in death, Dean found the fairytale Candyland in his favorite song, "Betcha By Golly Wow" as performed by The Stylistics.

*"The Man With The Candy: The Story of the Houston Mass Murders" by Jack Olsen is available through Amazon.com


melina bee said...

honestly, I read the first few sentences, glanced at the photos and realized I can not handle this story! so horrifying, but I did sincerely appreciate your description of the manson family as "psychotic hipsters"

Anonymous said...

My mother's uncle was one of Corll's kills :(