Elmer Wayne Henley was convicted for a second time yesterday of six murders carried out as part of a chilling series of 26 homosexual tortures and slayings in Houston in the early 1970s.
The same jury that returned the guilty verdicts then recommended that Henley, 23, serve six concurrent life terms in prison. District Court Judge Noah Kennedy will review the case before formally sentencing Henley.
Henley was convicted of the same crimes at a 1974 trial in San Antonio, but that verdict was overturned on appeal. Jurors deliberated two hours and 20 minutes before returning the second conviction.
Henley showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
Judges generally accept the sentence recommendation of Texas juries. The penalty for first-degree murder can range from five to 99 years. Henley cannot be sentenced to death because the state did not have a valid capital punishment law at the time he was charged.
Revelation of the 2 1/2 year crime rampage shocked the nation in August 1973 as the bodies of the teen-age victims were dug un in three clusters of shallow graves over a period of several days. At the time it was the worst mass murder in modern U.S. history. Currently, John Wayne Gacy Jr. a 37-year-old former contractor, is awaiting trial in Chicago on charges of killing 33 young men and boys.
Gacy was hospitalized Tuesday night for the second time in 2 1/2 months. He complained of chest pains after an exercise session at the Cook County Jail.