Dean Corll was born in Indiana
, the eldest son of a strict father and an overprotective mother. His parents divorced when he was seven, and his father was drafted into the Air Force
. His mother moved the children to Tennessee
so that they could remain close to their father, and eventually the pair reconciled. Corll was a shy and sickly child, and though compassionate he did not seek out social relationships with others. In 1950 a heart defect due to an undiagnosed case of rheumatic fever was diagnosed. That same year his parents remarried, and the family moved to Pasadena, Texas
. Three years later, however, they were divorced again. Corll continued to be in the custody of his mother, but remained in contact with his father. Soon after the divorce his mother remarried, and she and her new husband opened a candy shop in the small town in Texas where they now lived. Corll began working there, as well as remaining in school, where he attained fairly good grades, graduating from high school in 1958.
After graduation he continued to work for his mother and stepfather, moving along with them to Houston, where they opened a new candy store. Two years later he moved to Indiana, where he lived with his grandparents for a further two years before returning to Texas, working in the candy store and eventually moving in above the shop. By the next year his mother had again divorced, and Corll was given more power in the company, granted the title of vice-president. This was also the first time that allegations against Corll surfaced: a young male employee informed Corll's mother that Corll was making inappropriate sexual advances. These allegations were ignored. He was drafted into the US Army in August of 1964, serving in various forts for the next ten months before applying for and receiving a hardship discharge in June of 1965. He returned to work as the vice-president of the candy company, and around this time the company moved to a location directly across from an elementary school. Corll gained a reputation for giving free candy to the children who attended the school, especially teenage boys. His flirtatious behaviour when it came to young teenage boys began to be noticed. Despite this, many children congregated in the factory, where he had installed a pool table. It was in 1967 that he first became friends with David Brooks, then twelve years old. The pair became very close, eventually developing a sexual relationship at the urging of Corll, who paid Brooks for sex. In 1968 the candy factory closed and his mother moved to another state. Corll took up work as an electrician.
Corll abducted and killed his first victim in late September of 1970. He picked the 18-year-old up while he was hitchhiking, and later sexually assaulted and asphyxiating him. At some point after this murder he was interrupted while assaulting two boys by Brooks. He was able to buy Brooks' silence with a car, and late offered the boy $200 for each teenage boy he was able to lure to Corll's residence. Brooks took him up on the offer despite being aware that the boys he lured would be killed, and lured two fourteen-year-old boys to Corll in mid December of 1970. Both boys were raped and strangled. This pattern continued into 1971, with a total of six victims being taken that year, and with the notable addition of torture to the modus operandi. In late 1971 Corll met Elmer Wayne Henley, a friend of Brooks' who he ultimately decided would make for a good accomplice. He offered the boy the same rate for luring victims as Brooks; Henley's first abduction probably took place in early February of 1972. Between March and November of that year, Corll abducted, raped, tortured and murdered a further nine boys. In or around late May, Henley began to actively assist in the murder, shooting and strangling victims. He killed his first victim of the new year in February of 1973, taking a five month break before suddenly embarking on a spate of murders between early June and early August that claimed between seven and eight lives.
On August 7th of 1973, Henley brought a young man to Corll's house with the intention that the teenager should become the next victim. The pair briefly left the house after drinking and huffing paint fumes for several hours, and encountered a fifteen-year-old girl who had left her house due to her abusive father. Henley invited her back to Corll's house. When the trio arrived at Corll's home in the early hours of August 8th, Corll was furious, but eventually calmed down and offered them alcohol and marijuana, watching the three teenagers pass out. The three awoke to find themselves bound hand and foot. Henley was able to talk Corll into releasing him by promising to participate in the torture and murder of the two teenagers tied up in the other room. Corll ordered Henley to rape the girl, while he himself began assaulting the boy. After a brief talk with the girl, Henley suddenly picked up Corll's gun and pointed it at Corll, who taunted Henley by saying he would be unable to pull the trigger, and began to advance on the teenager. In response, Henley shot Corll once in the forehead, then a further three times in the shoulder and twice in the lower back. The impact of the shots sent Corll out into the hallway, where he died. He was 33.
Corll committed a confirmed total of 28 murders, with speculation that there are more murders that can be attributed to him. Henley and Brooks are currently serving several life sentences.