MONTAGUE, Texas -- A man charged in the death of an 80-year-old woman whose remains were found in a wood-burning stove in his home confessed during his arraignment Tuesday he had killed about 100 women.
When asked by 97th Distict Court Judge Frank Douthitt of Henrietta whether he was mentally competent to stand trial for the stabbing death of Kate Rich, 80, of Ringgold, Henry Lee Lucas said, 'there is about a hundred women out there that says different.'
Law enforcement authorities said Lucas, 46, had made statements concerning several deaths, but they would not say how many. The suspect told the court several times Tuesday he had killed 100 women, however he did not elaborate.
'It's just speculation until we can begin to confirm them,' district attorney Jack McGaugaty said.
McGaugaty said Lucas has made statements regarding about seven deaths in Texas. He said investigators were checking unsolved murders in the other north central Texas counties and other states, including California and Louisiana. He would not specify which murder cases or the locatalities involved.
'It's not beyond imagination that he's just spinning yarns,' McGaugaty said.
Lucas was arrested June 11 on a charge of illegal possession of a weapon by a felon. He was charged with murder after authorities found Mrs. Rich's remains in a culvert near Ringgold on June 16 and found bone fragments in a stove at Lucas' residence in Stoneburg.
Mrs. Rich and a 15-year-old girl, identified only as Becky, who may have been Lucas' common law wife, have been missing for more than nine months.
Law enforcement in Denton County Thursday dug up human skeletal remains, which McGaugaty said may be those of the teenager or a Denton runaway.
According to the weapons indictment, Lucas was convicted in March 1960 of stabbing his mother to death in Lenawee County, Mich.
McGaugaty said Lucas, who received a 20-years sentence for the murder of his mother, spent part of his sentence in a Michigan mental institution before he was returned to prison and released in 1975.
Acting on Douthitt's instructions, court entered pleas innocent pleas to the two charges on Lucas' behalf since he did not have a lawyer at the time of the arraignment. An attorney was later appointed to handle the case.
Lucas, who has a fifth grade education, said he had been held in Ionia Michicagn State Hospital for the criminally insane for six years. He also said he spent three weeks in a Princeton, W. Va. mental institution.
'They turned me lose and told me to go back home. They said, 'you are all right,'' he said.
Lucas was behind held in the Montague County jail on a $25,000 bond for the weapons charge. Bail was denied on the murder charge.