WACO, TEXAS (KWTX) A new Netflix "docuseries," “The Confession Killer” tells the story of drifter Henry Lee Lucas whose claims of being a serial killer were debunked by a local prosecutor who now says those still-unsolved murders need to be re-investigated.
Former McLennan County District Attorney Vic Feazell beside a poster for the new movie. (Photo by Drake Lawson)
Vic Feazell of Waco was McLennan County’s district attorney in 1985 when Rangers came to him asking he indict Lucas in connection with a murder in McLennan County to which Lucas had confessed.
Just a couple of years out of law school, Feazell said the whole idea sounded great to him, “until we started looking at the case closely and discovered Lucas could not have been the murderer because he wasn’t even in the state,” Feazell said Tuesday during an interview at his Waco office.
“Every single case that Lucas confessed to needs to be re-opened and re-investigated,” Feazell said.
Feazell said the families of those killed haven’t had any closure and finding their loved-one’s killer could help, “besides, there a bunch of killers running around out there and we need to know who they are.”
At one point Texas Rangers said Lucas had killed more than 600 people nationwide and they were in the middle of an investigation that counted more murders almost every day.
In truth, “I think he killed two-and-a-half,” Feazell, which included Lucas’ mother whom he accidentally killed during a drunken fight with her.
“It just didn’t make sense Lucas did it, and besides, we thought we already knew who did do the murder,” Feazell said.
Feazell, with the blessing of then 54th District Judge George Allen, convened a special grand jury to study only the Lucas cases and they looked at them all.
The Rangers began their investigation because Lucas, who then was an inmate in the Williamson County Jail, had befriended Sheriff Jim Boutwell and “Henry liked to talk and he very much liked to please people,” Feazell said, so he began taking credit for Williamson County murders to please his new sheriff friend.
Boutwell took the findings to Texas Rangers, who embellished the interviews and created a story of mass murder based upon a list of 88 murders Lucas said he committed.
“He made them a list and he made it all up,” Feazell said, “each of those murders on that list was purely fabrication and none of those people listed had been killed.
“The Texas Rangers knew that and they went on anyway.”
Another man, the real killer, was convicted of the murder and sent to prison.
Feazell found himself under investigation as a consequence of the questions he raised that culminated in a weeklong federal criminal trial at the U.S. Courthouse in Austin that resulted in a not guilty verdict.
Soon thereafter Feazell filed a defamation lawsuit against WFAA in Dallas and its parent company Belo Broadcasting over reports that alleged wrongdoing.
The jury awarded him $58-million in damages, at the time the largest libel lawsuit settlement in U.S. History.
“Then the IRS changed their laws and they came to me and took it all away,” Feazell said.
“They left me almost broke, so I started practicing law again.”
Then came Taki Oldham, an Australian journalist who stumbled on Feazell’s story and began talking with him about it.
The idea grew and soon became a topic, which Netflix found interesting and began working with.
The Netflix series began playing last Friday and is available on any internet film provider.