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Henry Lee Lucas (August 23, 1936 – March 13, 2001) was an American criminal, convicted of murder and once listed as America's most prolific serial killer. However, he later recanted his confessions. He once flatly stated "I am not a serial killer" in a letter to researcher Brad Shellady.
Lucas confessed to involvement in about 3,000 murders, an average of about one murder per day between his release from prison in mid-1975 to his arrest in mid-1983. A more widely circulated total of about 350 murders committed by Lucas is based on confessions deemed "believable" by a Texas-based "Lucas Task Force," a group which was criticized by Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox for sloppy police work and taking part in an extended "hoax".
Beyond his recantation, some of Lucas' confessions have been challenged as inaccurate by a number of critics, including law enforcement and court officials. Lucas claimed to have been initially subjected to poor treatment and coercive interrogation tactics while in police custody, and that he confessed to murders in an effort to improve his living conditions. This calls into question many of his alleged murders, since his confessions were often the sole evidence cited in favor of his guilt, especially his sole death penalty conviction. Amnesty International reported "the belief of two former state Attorneys General that Lucas was in all likelihood innocent of the crime for which he was sentenced to death."