"Is this for real?" It's all the teenage girl could think to ask as the boy, who had been her knight in shining armor a few hours ago, began cutting off her clothes with a hunting knife.
Rhonda Louise Williams, a 15-year-old, thought she was rescued from an abusive, drunken father by a 17-year-old friend, Elmer Wayne Henley.
Instead, she was taken to a man who was almost responsible for her death.
From 1970 through August 1973, Dean Arnold Corll raped, tortured, and murdered more than two dozen boys and young men in Houston and Pasadena, Texas.
Corll often jammed cloth rags into his victims' mouths and wound adhesive tape tightly around their faces to silence their screams.
It's no wonder.
Every single one of the victims whose bodies were discovered under a boat shed had been sodomized. Their pubic hairs had been plucked out, and sometimes, their genitals had been chewed.
Others also had objects inserted into their rectums. Some suffered the excruciating pain of glass rods pushed into their urethra and smashed into sharp bits of glass.
Medical examiners say the first victim's tongue stuck out over an inch beyond his teeth.
The third victim's mouth was gaped so wide that his upper and lower teeth were exposed.
He must have died screaming.
Is the word "vicious" adequate to describe these heinous crimes? How about "violent," "bloodthirsty," "perverse," or "savage?"
Our friendly Roget Thesaurus is filled with possibilities. Yet, all seem to fall short of the horrendous mark in the story of this homicidal maniac.
In the first week of August 1973, this three-year murderous rampage in Houston was almost over.
Unfortunately, there would be one more victim.
On August 5, 1973, one of Corll's teenage accomplices, David Owen Brooks, shared a pizza with James Stanton Dreymala, a 13-year-old from South Houston. The two spent 45 minutes together.
Poor kid didn't know this pizza would be his final meal, his last supper. But Brooks did. He would be paid $200 for the child.
Brooks kidnapped the small, blond boy and delivered him to Corll. After that, the child was tied to a torture board, raped, and strangled to death with a cord before being buried in a boat shed.
Dreymala is believed to have been Corll's 28th victim.
Three days later, Corll was ready to kill again.
Wayne Henley, who, like Brooks, was offered $200 per victim, lured a 19-year-old, Timothy Cordell Kerley, to Corll's home in Pasadena, Texas.
But Henley didn't stick to the plan.
Instead of just bringing Kerley to Corll's home, he also brought Rhonda Williams along. And Corll was pissed.
However, Corll, a 33-year-old Air Force veteran, seemed to calm down after a few moments. He even offered the three teenagers beer and marijuana, which the trio shared.
Kerley, Williams, and Henley also sniffed paint fumes. At the same time, Corll glared at the three, with demonic fantasies of sexual perversion swimming through his fevered brain.
These three teens had fallen into this sexual sadist's trap.
The three teenagers soon passed out thanks to the beer, pot, and paint fumes. They awoke to find themselves in a living Hell.
Henley regained consciousness first. His eyes opened as Corll was snapping handcuffs onto his wrists.
He tried to scream but couldn't. Henley's mouth had been taped shut, and he discovered his ankles had already been taped together.
Beside Henley lay Kerley and Williams. Both were tied at the wrists and ankles with nylon rope, and adhesive tape covered their mouths.
Kerley was naked.
"Man, you blew it by bringing that girl," Corll growled when he noticed his accomplish was awake.
Corll shouted, "I'm gonna kill all of you. But first, I'm going to have my fun!"
He began kicking the teenage girl in the chest, connecting with all his might not just once but several times.
As Williams lay on the floor, desperately trying not to vomit into the tape covering her mouth, Corll picked Henley up and dragged him into the kitchen.
He pushed a .22 caliber pistol into Henley's stomach, threatening to kill him on the kitchen floor.
Henley pled for his life, promising he would help Corll rape and torture the other teenagers if only Corll let him live.
For thirty long minutes, Henley sweated and begged, hoping that he would live to see the sunrise one more time.
Finally, Corll relented. Henley would be allowed to live only if he agreed to rape, torture, and kill the girl. Corll, he said, would do the same to Kerley.
After Henley agreed, he was untied.
Corll carried Kerley and Williams into a bedroom. Both were then tied to opposite sides of his plywood torture board.
Williams was on her stomach, and Kerley was tied to her back.
"Here, take this knife and start cutting off the girl's clothes," Corll said.
As Henley went to work with the hunting knife handed to him by Corll, the older man began cutting off Kerley's clothes.
Williams awoke, asking, "is this for real," just as Corll, who was naked now, began assaulting and torturing Kerley.
Henley, cutting off Williams's clothes, stopped his work long enough to assure her that this was not a nightmare from which she would awake. This was all happening, and, yeah, it was all only too real.
Williams screamed, "aren't you going to do anything about it?"
Kerley, fully awake now, began shouting and shrieking. His terror and pain were overwhelming.
Henley asked Corll if he could move Williams into another room but was ignored. Corll was too busy with Kerley to respond.
So, Henley grabbed Corll's pistol and yelled, "you've gone far enough, Dean."
Corll couldn't believe one of his accomplices would turn on him like this. He got off Kerley.
"I can't go on any longer!" Henley pointed the pistol at Corll. "I can't have you kill all my friends."
Corll, still naked, walked toward Henley.
"Kill me, Wayne. Do it!"
The pistol trembled in Henley's hands, and he stepped back a few paces.
"You won't do it." Corll moved toward Henley.
But Henley did do it.
He fired one shot, the bullet striking Corll in the forehead. However, the .22 slug did not penetrate Corll's skull, and the killer continued to walk toward Henley.
Henley, with this naked lunatic who'd been shot in the head, blood streaming down his face, still lurching toward him, fired twice more.
The bullets slammed into Corll's left shoulder. But he still kept moving forward. In fact, he ran from the room, slamming into a hallway wall. Henley fired again. Once, twice, three times.
His aim was accurate. Corll was hit in the lower back and shoulder.
The man who'd raped, tortured, and killed more than two dozen boys and young men, slid slowly down the wall and died where he fell.
(Dean Corll, laying dead)
As Henley looked down on Corll's dead, naked body, his only thought was that Dean would have been proud of him.
Corll had trained Henley to constantly react to danger quickly and forcefully, and that's just what he'd done.
November 2, 1945: On her way to a high school football game with friends, a fourteen-year-old girl vanishes after driving away with a man who says he needs a babysitter.
The FBI unleashes its top kidnapping expert, an agent who helped bring John Dillinger down. Will that be enough to find the girl and her abductor?
Agents chase the suspected kidnapper from California to Illinois and back again.
Arrested in Los Angeles, he admits abducting the child. He also tells the FBI he killed the girl and threw her body into the Pacific Ocean. A search for her corpse proves fruitless.
Then, when all hope is lost, authorities discover the skeleton of another young woman who's fallen victim to this madman.
Ready for another twist? The wife of the man who made that discovery is found dead at the bottom of the cliff.
During the accused killer's trial, women around the country fall in love with the handsome monster and literally break down the doors of a courthouse to get close to him.
Wild enough for you? Wait. After the child's killer is convicted and sentenced to the gas chamber, a scientist shows up and says he can bring the murderer back from the dead.
The Murder of Thora Chamberlain: A Shocking True Crime Story: This is the wildest, most shocking, true crime story you've ever read.