David Owen Brooks

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David Brooks
David Owen Brooks

(1955-02-12) February 12, 1955 (age 64)
Height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Spouse(s)Bridget Clark Brooks
Criminal penalty99 years [1]
Victims1 (convicted)
Span of crimes
December 13, 1970–August 3, 1973
CountryUnited States
Date apprehended
August 9, 1973

David Owen Brooks (born February 12, 1955)[2] is an American convicted murderer, and accomplice of serial killer Dean Corll who, along with Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr., abducted, raped, tortured, and murdered at least 28 boys and young men, in a series of killings spanning from 1970 to 1973 in Houston, Texas. The crimes, which became known as the Houston Mass Murders, came to light after Henley fatally shot Corll.

Many of the victims had been friends of Brooks and Henley. At the time of their discovery, the Houston Mass Murders were considered the worst example of serial murder in American history.[3]

Since his 1975 conviction, Brooks has repeatedly been denied parole (most recently in 2015).[4][5][6]


Brooks first met Corll while in the sixth grade. He was one of many children and youths who socialized at Corll Candy Company, and later admitted Corll was one of few people who did not mock his glasses. In Brooks' oral confession, he admitted to allowing Corll to perform sexual acts upon him from the age of 12,[7] for which Corll paid him with gifts or cash.

Houston Mass Murders[edit]

Corll's victims were typically lured to a succession of addresses in which he resided between 1970 and 1973 with an offer of a party or a lift. They would then be restrained by either force or deception, and all were killed by either strangulation or shooting with a .22-caliber pistol. 17 of these murder victims were buried in a rented boat shed; four other victims were buried in woodland near Lake Sam Rayburn; one further victim was buried on a beach in Jefferson County; and at least six victims were buried on a beach on the Bolivar Peninsula.

Corll is known to have committed a minimum of one murder prior to Brooks unintentionally discovering him sexually assaulting two teenage boys at an apartment in which he then-resided: 3300 Yorktown Street.[8]

Participation of David Brooks[edit]

In December 1970, David Brooks entered an apartment Corll then-rented, unannounced, to discover Corll in the act of sexually assaulting two teenage boys whom he had strapped to a four-poster bed. According to Brooks, Corll "jumped up and said, 'I'm just having some fun!'"[9] He promised Brooks a car in return for his silence; Brooks accepted this offer and Corll subsequently bought him a green Chevrolet Corvette. Brooks was later told by Corll that the two youths had been murdered, and he was offered $200 for any boy he could lure to Corll's apartment—an incitement he accepted.[10][11]

In the winter of 1971, Brooks—having by this stage assisted in luring a minimum of six teenage boys to Corll's various addresses—introduced an acquaintance of his named Elmer Wayne Henley to Corll. Henley was likely an intended victim,[12] although Corll evidently saw Henley as an invaluable potential accomplice. Both Brooks and Henley would remain active participants in the abduction and abuse of Corll's victims until Corll was shot to death by Henley on August 8, 1973.[13]

In addition to their participating in the abductions and murders of the victims, both Brooks and Henley also burglarized several addresses, for which they were paid small sums of money.[14]

Brooks was found guilty in David Owen Brooks vs The State of Texas in 1975. He was found guilty of the June 4, 1973 abduction and murder of 15-year-old William Ray Lawrence. An appeal against Brooks' conviction was lodged, but this appeal would be dismissed in 1979.[15]



  • A film loosely inspired by the Houston Mass Murders, Freak Out, was released in 2003. The film was directed by Brad Jones, who also starred as Dean Corll. This film largely focuses upon the last night of Dean Corll's life, prior to Henley shooting him and contacting authorities. The film has procured mostly mixed to positive reviews, though Jones' performance was acclaimed.[16]
  • Production of a film directly based upon the Houston Mass Murders, In a Madman's World, finished in 2014.[17] Directed by Josh Vargas, In a Madman's World is directly based upon Elmer Wayne Henley's life before, during, and immediately after his involvement with Dean Corll and David Brooks.[18] Limited edition copies of the film were released in 2017.


  • Christian, Kimberly (2015). Horror in the Heights: The True Story of The Houston Mass Murders. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1-515-19072-1.
  • Gurwell, John K. (1974). Mass Murder in Houston. Cordovan Press.
  • Hanna, David (1975). Harvest of Horror: Mass Murder in Houston. Belmont Tower.
  • Olsen, Jack (1974). The Man with the Candy: The Story of the Houston Mass Murders. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-1283-0.
  • Rosewood, Jack (2015). Dean Corll: The True Story of The Houston Mass Murders. CreateSpace ISBN 978-1-517-48500-9.


  • A 1982 documentary, The Killing of America, features a section devoted to the Houston Mass Murders.
  • FactualTV host a documentary focusing upon the murders committed by Corll and his accomplices. Dr. Sharon Derrick is among those interviewed for the documentary.
  • The Investigation Discovery channel has broadcast a documentary focusing upon the Houston Mass Murders within their documentary series, Most Evil. This documentary, entitled "Manipulators", was first broadcast in December 2014.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://archive.is/20120723181807/http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl/1993_1146085/the-horror-remains-20-years-later-memories-of-dean.html/#selection-1037.1-1061.68
  2. ^ "David Owen Brooks". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  3. ^ "Residents of Houston Curbing Murder Talk". The Beaver County Times. UPI. August 16, 1973. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  4. ^ "Houston serial killer Dean Corll's accomplice David Brooks could be paroled". Houston Chronicle. December 5, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  5. ^ Rhor, Monica (February 15, 2015). ""Houston Mass Murders" killer denied parole". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  6. ^ White, Grace (January 3, 2018). "Family of victim fights against serial killer up for parole". KHOU. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  7. ^ "Accused man in Texas slaying ring is on trial". The Bryan Times. UPI. February 27, 1975. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  8. ^ The Man with the Candy ISBN 978-0-7432-1283-0 p. 193
  9. ^ The Man with the Candy ISBN 978-0-7432-1283-0 p. 125
  10. ^ The Man with the Candy ISBN 978-0-7432-1283-0 pp. 135-138
  11. ^ Serial Killers ISBN 0-7835-0000-9 p.111
  12. ^ Overton, James L. (March 17, 1975). "Horror still haunts families". Montreal Gazette. UPI. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  13. ^ Serial Killers ISBN 0-7835-0000-9 p.111
  14. ^ Conaway, James (April 1976). "The Last Kid on the Block". Texas Monthly. 4 (4): 83.
  15. ^ Keppel, Robert D.; Birnes, William J. (2003). The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations: The Grisly Business Unit. Academic Press. pp. 8–. ISBN 978-0-12-404260-5.
  16. ^ IMDb Freak Out plot summary
  17. ^ Rouner, Jeff (December 4, 2013). "Real Horror: Local Filmmaker Brings the Horrific Crimes of Dean Corll to the Silver Screen". Houston Press. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  18. ^ "In a Madman's World". Uk.imdb.com. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  19. ^ "Investigation Discovery Reveals Who Is Most Evil with Leading Forensic Psychologist Dr. Kris Mohandie – On Sunday, December 7". Discovery Communications. November 24, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2015.

Cited works and further reading[edit]

External links[edit]