Fifteen California murders have been solved as a result of a secret, 4,000-mile escorted tour of the state last month by Henry Lee Lucas, who has confessed to 360 killings throughout the nation, John K. Van de Kamp, the state attorney general, announced yesterday.
Lucas, 48, who is under a death sentence in Texas and has been linked to, but not charged with, 175 homicides, led state and local authorities to 35 of the 67 California sites where he said he and companions committed murders between 1975 and 1983.
The tour, between Aug. 19 and 30, convinced authorities that Lucas was involved in the murders of 14 women and girls and one man, Van de Kamp said. He might be linked to others, but not enough evidence has been found to confirm them, the attorney general said.
At a news conference in his Los Angeles office, where videotapes and still pictures of the tour were distributed, Van de Kamp described Lucas as "perhaps one of the most brutal mass murderers in this nation's history."
The murder sites definitely linked to Lucas during the tour ranged from Sunrise Butte in Imperial County near the Mexican border to Eureka in Humboldt County in the far north.
Van de Kamp said that Lucas was able to describe the murder scenes, the methods of killings, the descriptions of the victims and other details to such an extent that there was no question that he was implicated.