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Man Who Boasted Of Mass Murder Baptized In County Jail

December 2, 1985

EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ Henry Lee Lucas, the one-eyed drifter who boasted of hundreds of murders only to recant his grisly confessions, has been baptized in the chapel of the El Paso County Jail.

Lucas, clad in an orange jail uniform, was completely immersed in water in a baptismal font at the jail chapel. The dripping inmate was then given communion by the Rev. Russell Bone, who conducts an interdenomination al jail ministry here.

″The old Henry Lucas’s spirit will die, the scripture tells us. Your past will wash away as far as the Lord is concerned. You will see a marked change in your life,″ Bone said.

He told Lucas that the baptism was the most important time in his life. ″I believe it,″ Lucas replied.

And when Bone asked Lucas what he was looking forward to, Lucas said: ″Heaven.″

As Lucas and a handful of guests sat in the bare little room with pale blue walls, Bone read from the Bible.

The selection came from the 16th Chapter of Acts, which describes the Apostle Paul’s imprisonment in Macedonia and his prescription for salvation.

″And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed,″ one verse of the chapter says.

The half-hour ceremony was attended by three jail guards, a reporter from the El Paso Times, members of the Lucas defense team, including flamboyant El Paso private investigator Jay J. Armes, and Sister Clemmie Schroeder of Georgetown.

Lucas has credited Ms. Schroeder, who conducts a jail ministry, with leading him to his new-found Christianity while he was incarcerated in Georgetown.

When the ceremony ended, guards hustled Lucas out of the chapel and back to the eighth floor of the jail, where he is being kept in solitary confinement. Ms. Schroeder was allowed to visit him there after the ceremony.

Lucas is awaiting trial on murder charges in El Paso.

For a while, Lucas was considered one of the deadliest serial killers in U.S. history. But after recanting hundreds of confessions, Lucas is now widely regarded as the perpetrator of a massive hoax.

Authorities now say that nearly half the murder cases attributed to him by Texas Rangers are being reopened or were never closed.

Lucas was convicted of killing his mother in 1960. Since 1983, he has been convicted of five murders, including one capital murder that put him under the death sentence in Texas.

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