Henry Lee Lucas was born in Virginia in 1936. Lucas was the youngest of 9 children, born to Viola Dixon Waugh, an alcoholic prostitute. His father was a former railroad employee and alcoholic who had lost his legs in an accident. Lucas had a traumatic childhood that involved beatings and sexual trauma from his mother. According to his family, his mother would sometimes force him to watch her have sex with men and dress him up in woman’s clothing. At age 10, Lucas was stabbed in his eye eventually leading to it being replaced by a glass eye.
After his father died of hypothermia, Lucas fled his home and began his life as a drifter. In 1951 Lucas claimed he committed his first murder when he strangled a 17-year-old girl to death. Lucas also claimed that he committed acts of bestiality during his early time as a drifter.
In 1959 Lucas moved to Michigan to live with his half sister Opal. The next year, his mother visited him in Michigan, only to be murdered by Lucas after a dispute. Lucas was arrested and sentenced to 20-40 years in prison. After 10 years in prison Lucas was released due to overcrowding.
After being released Lucas drifted around the American South doing odd jobs. He met a man named Ottis Toole and started a romantic relationship with his 12-year-old niece Frieda Powell. Lucas claimed that the trio committed hundreds of murders during their time together.
In 1983 Lucas was arrested for unlawful firearm possession, and later charged for a murder of an 82-year-old man. Lucas confessed to literally hundreds of murders over the next few years. Whether he committed the crimes or not is still in contention. Lucas died of heart failure in prison in 2001, he was 64.