Ottis Elwood Toole
(March 5, 1947 – September 15, 1996) (sometimes spelled Otis) was an American criminal. Though he claimed to be a serial killer and cannibal, and was the suspect in several unsolved murders, he recanted and restated a number of confessions. Toole was twice convicted of murder, and confessed to four more murder charges before dying in prison.
He was perhaps best-known as a suspect in the murder of Adam Walsh, son of John Walsh, host of the television program America's Most Wanted, and as the reputed partner of Henry Lee Lucas. Biography A native of Jacksonville, Florida, his father left the family when Toole was young.
He claimed his mother was a religious fanatic, and that his sister dressed him in girl's clothes. Toole also claimed his grandmother was a satanist who exposed him to various practices and rites in his youth. Toole ran away from home repeatedly.
He claimed to have started fires in abandoned homes from a young age. Toole claimed to have committed his first murder at the age of 14. After being propositioned for sex by a traveling salesman, he ran over the salesman with his own car. This claim is unverified. Toole's first arrest as an adult was in 1964, on a charge of loitering. About 1978, Toole met Henry Lee Lucas in Florida.
Both would later claim to have committed many hundreds of murders, sometimes at the behest of a secret cult called "The Hand of Death." Lucas would recant his confessions, saying he made such statements only to improve his living conditions in jail.
Though some authorities have argued there is significant doubt as to Lucas' guilt, Toole is still generally seen as a serial killer. In April 1984, Toole was convicted and sentenced to death for a 1982 arson incident that killed 64-year-old George Sonnenberg in Jacksonville, Florida. Later that year, Toole was judged guilty of the 1983 murder of 19-year-old Tallahassee, Florida, resident Ada Johnson, and received a second death sentence; on appeal, however, both sentences were reduced to life in prison.
Toole pleaded guilty to four more murders in 1991 and received four more life sentences. Toole died in September of 1996 in prison from cirrhosis of the liver. A character based on Toole was portrayed by Tom Towles in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottis_Toole