The Candy Man Killer Drew In His Accomplices With Hefty Bribes

Dean Corll, who became known as the Candy Man serial killer, is suspected of killing at least 28 boys and young men between the ages of 13 and 20 from 1970 to 1973. The fact that Corll had two accomplices, who were both teenagers, makes the crimes even more disturbing.

As reported by The Famous People, Corll's mother and step-father owned a small candy company called Pecan Prince in Houston Heights, Texas. As a child, Corll and his brother helped run the candy machine and package the products, which were sold by his step-father. Although his mother and step-father eventually divorced, and Pecan Prince was closed, his mother went on to open a new candy company called the Corll Candy Company.

In the mid-1960s, Corll was appointed vice president of the Corll Candy Company. The Famous People reports Corll was known for handing out free candy to the neighborhood children — which earned him the nickname Candy Man. During this time, he also met and eventually befriended, an 11-year-old boy named David Owen Brooks.

At the time, Brooks was living with his father, Alton, who, according to Texas Monthly, was described as "a very tough, redneck paving contractor." Brooks' former attorney, Jim Skelton, said the boy was often in poor health, and his father was largely unsympathetic.

Texas Monthly reports the Corll Candy Company warehouse and factory were across the street from the elementary school Brooks attended. Brooks met the Candy Man when he wandered into the building one day.

Dean Corll befriended David Brooks when he was 11 years old

David Brooks and Dean Corll formed an instant connection; largely because Brooks viewed him as a father figure, as reported by Texas Monthly. Jim Skelton said the boy "idolized" Corll. Brooks confessed to his attorney that Corll "was the first adult male who didn't make fun of him."

Unfortunately, Corll's intentions for Brooks were not as innocent as they may have seemed. Texas Monthly reports Brooks was one of the first boys who Corll lured to his apartment with promises of money and other gifts. He also provided the boy with affection and other basic needs that were not being met at home. 

Skelton said Corll provided Brooks with shelter when he and his father were fighting, as well as money whenever he wanted or needed it. He also, in many ways, treated him like a son. Although the relationship was clearly toxic, Brooks looked up to the older man — who was essentially the only adult caretaker he had.

Although he knew what Corll was doing to him was wrong, Brooks did not fully understand the depths of the Candy Man's depravity for several years. When he was 15 years old, Brooks made an unexpected visit to Corll's apartment. According to Texas Monthly, he was stunned to find two boys restrained on Corll's bed. Brooks immediately left the apartment. However, he later questioned Corll about the disturbing incident.

David Brooks introduced Dean Corll to his friend Elmer Wayne Henley

When questioned about the boys, Texas Monthly reports Dean Corll initially told David Brooks he planned to sell the boys to a human trafficking ring. However, he later confessed he killed them and buried them under a rented storage shed. Instead of contacting the authorities, Brooks became Corll's accomplice.

According to Texas Monthly, Brooks eventually introduced his childhood friend, Elmer Wayne Henley, to Corll — who provided him with alcohol, marijuana, and the use of his car. Later Corll even bought Brooks a green Corvette for his 16th birthday. Whereas Brooks developed an emotional familial bond with Corll, and took on a more passive role in the eventual abductions and murders, Henley was motivated by money and his own compulsions.

The Candy Man's crime spree came to an end on August 8, 1973, when one of his accomplices opened fire and shot him to death. Earlier that same morning, Texas Monthly reports Henley went to Corll's house with his friend Tim Kerley and his girlfriend Rhonda Williams. Although Henley did not expect anyone to be harmed, Corll restrained and attacked all three of them while they were sleeping. When he woke up, Henley managed to convince Corll to untie him. He then grabbed Corll's .22 pistol and shot him.

Elmer Wayne Henley ultimately shot and killed Dean Corll

As reported by ABC13, Elmer Wayne Henley called authorities to report he shot and killed Dean Corll. Amid their investigation into the shooting, the officers soon realized Corll was a serial killer and Henley was one of his accomplices. They later identified David Owen Brooks as Corll's other accomplice.

Investigation Discovery reports Henley was ultimately convicted on six counts of murder and was subsequently sentenced to 99 years in prison on each count. Brooks was convicted on one count of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

In May 2020, Brooks was hospitalized with symptoms suggesting he contracted COVID-19. According to ABC News, he died on May 28 at the age of 65. An autopsy confirmed he died of coronavirus. Henley turned 66 on May 9, 2022. He is currently incarcerated at the John B. Connally Unit in Karnes County, Texas.