November 17, 1998
Kenneth Allen McDuff #999055
I’m ready to be released. Release me.
"I'm ready to be released," McDuff, 52, said
when asked by Warden Jim Willett if he had any final statement. "Release
He made no other comments, gasped several times and
then exhaled before slipping into unconsciousness. 8 minutes later, at
6:26 p.m. CST, he was pronounced dead.
It was a quiet ending to a nearly three-decade history
of ghastly murders that earned him the tag of predator and monster. He
also was believed to be the only condemned man ever released from one of
the nation's death rows to be returned there for another killing.
McDuff's 1st death sentence was commuted in the 1970s
when the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional.
While McDuff asked for a final meal, his attorneys
were at the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a delay so additional tests could
be conducted on hair samples that authorities said linked him to Ms.
Both requests were denied. And the high court refused
Tuesday night to stop the punishment from being carried out.
"I want you all to know I'm very glad," said
Brenda Solomon, who watched McDuff die and said he "looked like the
McDuff was put to death for killing her daughter,
Melissa Ann Northrup, 22, of Waco.
"He's going where he needs to go," she said.
"I feel happy. I feel wonderful."
Ms. Northrup was abducted March 1, 1992, from a Waco
convenience store where she worked. Her body surfaced weeks later and
dozens of miles away in a Dallas County gravel pit. Her hands were tied
behind her and she had been strangled with a rope.
McDuff also had a 2nd death sentence for the 1991
abduction and slaying of 28-year-old Austin accountant Colleen Reed, and
authorities say he may have killed as many as a dozen other people,
primarily in central Texas between Austin and Waco.
Fuentes: Associated Press & Rick Halperin
McDuff (March 21, 1946 –
November 17, 1998) was an American serial killer
suspected of at least 14 murders. He had previously been
on death row from 1968 to 1972.
McDuff was first convicted for raping
and murdering three teenagers on August 6, 1966 — Robert
Brand, Mark Dunman, and Edna Louis Sullivan — a crime
that became popularly known as the Broomstick Murders.
His partner, 17-year-old Roy Dale Green, was sentenced
to four months house arrest and five years probation.
Although McDuff was sentenced to death, the sentence was
overturned when the U.S. Supreme Court abolished capital
punishment in 1972. He served life with the possibility
Due to extremely crowded Texas
prisons, McDuff was paroled in 1989. Upon release McDuff
was arrested on a series of parole violations, but he
was never locked up for any substantial length of time
until he was arrested for the murder of a 22-year-old
Texan woman, Melissa Ann Northrup, in 1992. He was
implicated in at least three other murders. After being
released, he got a job at a gas station making $4 an
hour and took a class, at Texas State Technical College
in Waco. One year after he left his job at a gas station
and dropped out of TSTC, he began killing again.
As a wanted fugitive,
he fled to Kansas City, but was eventually captured due
to a tip from a profile on the television show
America's Most Wanted. McDuff was eventually sent to
death row and executed on November 17, 1998 at
According to the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice death row section
McDuff's final words were: "I’m ready to be released.
Release me". McDuff's body was never claimed by his
family. He is buried in the cemetery of the prison where
he was executed. His grave marker is adorned only with
his death row number: X999055.
on the Texas penal system
After McDuff's second arrest for
murder in 1992, Texas launched a massive overhaul of its
prison system to prevent violent criminals from winning
early parole. The tightened parole rules, extensive
prison building projects and improved monitoring of
violent parolees are collectively known in Texas as the
Kenneth McDuff, 98-11-17, Texas
Dallas Morning News
Only the U.S. Supreme Court stands between infamous killer Kenneth
McDuff and a Tuesday evening appointment in the Texas death chamber.
The 52-year-old McDuff, the oly condemned Texas inmate ever paroled and
then returned to death row for another murder conviction, headed to the
high court after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans
late Monday rejected his request for a reprieve.
A formal written ruling would not be released until Tuesday, but the
appeals court indicated that it would not rule favorably on Mr. McDuff's
appeal, his lawyer and the Texas attorney general's office said.
The Supreme Court was the next step.
"That will be the plan," said Mr. McDuff's lawyer, Walter Reaves.
It also was probably the final step because Mr. McDuff's attorneys made
no attempt to seek clemency from Texas officials.
"Unless the courts intervene in any way, shape or form at this point,
..(the execution) will be carried out," Texas Board of Pardons and
Paroles Chairman Victor Rodriguez said Monday.
Mr. McDuff, considered among Texas' most violent and sadistic criminals,
was seeking a delay so additional tests could be conducted on hair
samples that authorities said linked him to the 1992 rape-slaying of
Melissa Ann Northrup, 22, a pregnant mother of 2 from Waco.
Abducted from a convenience store where she worked, her body was found
in a gravel pit. Her hands were tied behind her back and she had been
strangled with a rope.
He also received a 2nd death sentence in 1994 for killing 28-year-old
accountant Colleen Reed, who was abducted in Austin. And authorities say
Mr. McDuff may be responsible for as many as a dozen other killings,
primarily in central Texas between Austin and Waco.
"I can't imagine anyone in this country who deserves to die more than
Kenneth McDuff," said Lori Bible, Ms. reed's sister. "I can't imagine
our courts will step in and try to stop this. But then I never could
have imagined someone would vote to free this monster from prison."
Ms. Bible, who could have watched the execution, gave her death chamber
witness spot to a federal marshal who headed the investigation that led
to Mr. McDuff's arrest. However, 5 other friends and relatives of McDuff
murder victims are scheduled to attend.
Mr. McDuff selected 2 nieces and 2 nephews, along with a spiritual
adviser, to watch him die.
Mr. McDuff, 1st imprisoned in 1965 for burglary, went to death row in
1968 for the shooting deaths 2 years earlier of 2 teenage boys and the
rape-strangulation of their 16-year-old female companion.
But while he was awaiting execution, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972
struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional, and Mr. McDuff's
sentence was commuted to life.
He won parole about 17 years later when parole board members, facing
severe crowding in texas prisons, released him along with thousands of
inmates so they could free space for newly convicted felons. Ms.
Northrup and Ms. Reed were killed a short time later.
It wasn't until last month that an informant's tip led authorities to
Ms. Reed's skeleton, buried along the Brazos River south of Waco.
Unearthed nearby were the remains of 2 other women, also thought to be
Mr. McDuff won a federal court reprieve several weeks ago that put off a
scheduled Oct. 21 execution for the Northrup and Reed killings. A
federal district judge later lifted the stay in the Northrup case.
He has no execution date pending for the Reed slaying.
Mr. McDuff may be the only condemned inmate in modern American history
to be freed from death row and then returned for another murder. Justice
department staticians who keep national capital punishment figures say
they're not aware of anyone else.
"If we did have someone, I think we'd all know about it," said Mr.
Rodriguez, who was not a parole board member when Mr. McDuff was
released. "I think many of us would like to see this chapter be past
Because of the anger over Mr. McDuff's release and subsequent killing
spree, parole proccedures were changed and the state embarked on an
unprecedented $2 billion prison construction program.
"Every now and then the issue surfaces about capital punishment," Mr.
Rodriguez said. "You're inclined to say if there's a reason, Kenneth
McDuff is the reason. He's a poster child for capital punishment in
Man blamed for 14 murders executed in Texas
November 17, 1998
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (CNN) -- Kenneth Allen McDuff, who
was freed from death row only to return a second time, was executed in
Texas Tuesday night. He was the 17th inmate put to death in that state
McDuff, 52, was believed to be the only condemned
inmate in the nation ever paroled and then returned to death row for
McDuff was first imprisoned in 1965 for burglary, and
then went to death row in 1968 for fatally shooting two teen-age boys in
the face in Fort Worth. He was also convicted of raping and strangling
their 16-year-old female companion.
But as he was awaiting execution in 1972, the U.S.
Supreme Court struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional.
McDuff's sentence was commuted to life. After 21 years in prison, McDuff
was paroled in 1989, when Texas freed thousands of inmates to free up
space in their overcrowded prisons for newly convicted inmates.
Two of his victims, Melissa Ann Northrup and Colleen
Reed were killed a short time later. After a nationwide manhunt, McDuff
was arrested in Kansas City in 1992.
It was for the abduction, rape and murder of Northrup
that McDuff was executed. The body of the 22-year-old pregnant mother of
two was found in a gravel pit weeks after her abduction from a
convenience store. Her hands were tied behind her, and she had been
strangled with a rope.
McDuff also had a second death sentence for the 1991
abduction and killing of Austin accountant Colleen Reed, 28, but a judge
granted a stay in that case. Authorities say he may have killed as many
as a dozen other people, primarily in central Texas between Austin and
"What a worthless being," said Reed's sister, Lori
Bible. "Every day he's alive, you can't help but hold your breath
waiting for something to happen. Another parole? A breakout? Anything
could happen. The chance of him being free again is just terrifying to
McDuff led police to bodies, paper says
It wasn't until last month that authorities found
Reed's skeleton, buried along the Brazos River south of Waco. Unearthed
nearby were the remains of two other women, also believed to be McDuff
The Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday that
McDuff was secretly taken out of prison under heavy guard for two days
in October to help police find Reed's body. Authorities had been unable
to find the body with maps he drew.
Authorities had earlier found the bodies of two Waco
women, Reginia Moore and Brenda Thompson, using McDuff's maps, the
newspaper reported, quoting sources familiar with the searches.
After police found Reed and the other two victims, a
nephew of McDuff got a reduced sentence for his drug-dealing conviction,
the newspaper said.
Earlier, authorities said they found the bodies with
help from an informant, but they didn't identify the informant.
A federal judge last week reduced the sentence of
McDuff's nephew, Michael Wayne Royals, 42, from 15 years to 10 years.
Royals is serving a prison term for delivery of amphetamines and
The newspaper said sources insisted that no explicit
deal was cut.
However, the American-Statesman said that according
to people familiar with the case, the chain of events started months ago
when a relative of McDuff asked authorities if they would help Royals in
exchange for McDuff's help in finding the victims.
The court docket shows that a federal prosecutor made
a request in Royals' case November 4, but the request was sealed. On
November 10, the docket shows that U.S. District Judge Walter Smith
issued an order, which also is sealed.
Smith and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Johnston, a
prosecutor in the Royals case, refused to comment. State prison
officials refused to comment on the report that McDuff was taken out of
prison to help find one of the bodies.
McDuff, reportedly terminally ill with hepatitis C
and cirrhosis of the liver, has refused requests for interviews.
By Ken Anderson - "Crime in Texas"
More than any other person, McDuff has come to
represent everything that was wrong with the Texas criminal justice
system. He convinced everyone—citizens, politicians, the news media—just
how truly broken the Texas system was.
The facts of his case are worth repeating. If we are
to avoid the mistakes of the past, we must remember the awful lesson
McDuff inflicted on Texas.
Kenneth McDuff was a dangerous, cold-blooded killer.
He was a dangerous, cold-blooded killer the August 1966 night that he
murdered three Fort Worth teenagers. He was a dangerous, cold-blooded
killer when the parole board voted to release him in October 1989. He
was a dangerous, cold-blooded killer those days in 1991 and 1992 when he
killed Melissa Northrup and Colleen Reed. . And he remained a dangerous,
cold-blooded killer until his execution on November 17, 1998.
McDuff was born and raised in Texas. Although he had
several incidents with school and law enforcement officials, he managed
to stay out of prison until age 19. In 1965, he was convicted of a
string of 12 burglaries and received a four-year prison sentence. After
less than one year, he was paroled—given a second chance.
McDuff responded to this second chance by going on a
vicious murder rampage in Tarrant County. On the night of August 6,
1966, McDuff and a buddy selected at random, then robbed and abducted,
three teenagers. McDuff forced them into a car trunk. Later, as the boys
begged him to spare their lives, he shot them in the head a total of
five times. McDuff and his buddy repeatedly raped the girl. McDuff then
killed her by choking her with a broomstick.
McDuff was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.
He spent six years on death row before the 1972 United States Supreme
Court decision ruling that all current death penalty laws, including
Texas', were unconstitutional. (A new constitutional death penalty law
was put into effect in 1974.) McDuff and Texas' other 87 death row
inmates had their sentences commuted to life. Under the parole law at
that time, he became eligible for release in 1976. He was repeatedly
denied parole. Out of desperation, he offered a $10,000 bribe to a
parole official. In 1982, he was convicted of the bribery attempt, but
the jury gave him only a two-year sentence.
Meanwhile, Texas politicians continued to pass tough
anticrime laws but neglected to build the prison space needed to back up
the laws. As prison crowding became a severe problem, a federal judge
ruled that the crowding was unconstitutional and took control of the
Texas prison system. State officials tried to buy time and space by
increasing good-time credits, releasing more inmates on parole, and
paroling tens of thousands of inmates before they even reached prison.
At the system's worst, inmates served 22 days for each year of
their sentences; parole approval rates skyrocketed to 80%.
Of those released early, many committed more crimes
and reentered the system. This, in turn, pushed other inmates out early,
who then committed more crimes. The process was repeated in a
sickeningly futile cycle.
In October 1989, as the system melted down, it did
the unthinkable and released Kenneth McDuff. His record showed 16 felony
convictions, 12 burglaries, and 3 murders, as well as his 1982 bribery
McDuff didn't stay out of trouble for long. By July
1990, he was arrested for the misdemeanor offense of making a
terroristic threat. Parole violation charges put McDuff safely back
Then the unthinkable occurred again.
Falls County officials dropped their charges. Why?
Their witnesses were reluctant to testify, saying they hoped that the
parole board would, nonetheless, use McDuff's criminal conduct to revoke
his parole and keep him in prison. The board, still paroling prisoners
far too early, made an administrative decision. The board did not seek a
revocation based on the terroristic threat and simply released McDuff.
On December 6, 1990, at the end of the year when the parole rate peaked,
McDuff was free again.
We don't know the exact details of the next 17 months.
McDuff's crime spree included drug dealing, robberies, and possibly nine
murders. For certain, we know that on December 30, 1991, he kidnapped
Colleen Reed from an Austin car wash. He raped, brutalized, and finally
murdered her. Then on March 1, 1992, McDuff kidnapped and killed Melissa
Northrup, a 22-year-old Waco convenience store worker. That spring,
McDuff became the object of a massive manhunt. Finally, after being
featured on America's Most Wanted TV show, McDuff was
discovered working as a trash collector in Kansas City, Missouri. On May
4, 1992, he was arrested.
McDuff was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death
for the murders of Reed and Northrup. He spent six years on death row
until his execution on November 17, 1998.
Why are McDuff's victim's dead? Under any rational
system, no matter how overcrowded or understaffed, McDuff would have
been recognized as a vicious killer who should never have been released.
The system utterly failed in its primary function—to protect its
Although hundreds of other dangerous criminals
released early also committed heinous crimes, the McDuff debacle
galvanized public opinion like no other case. The Texas legislature
passed sweeping reforms, and citizens overwhelmingly voted for a billion-dollar
bond to finance more prison beds. The result was dramatic:
The prison system expanded from 38,000 beds to
Good time was significantly reformed.
Minimum parole eligibility doubled for violent
The pace of executions picked up, and Texas
executed more killers than any other state.
Had all these reforms been in effect in 1966, Kenneth
McDuff's case would have turned out differently. He probably would have
been executed. If he'd somehow been able to avoid execution, his life
sentence for capital murder would have required him to serve 40 calendar
years rather than 10 before the parole board would have even considered
him. When his time came, he would not have been considered by a three-member
panel of the board, as in the typical case. The full 18-member parole
board would have reviewed his case. He would have needed 12 votes.
Before they could vote, the board would have had to have listened to any
presentation the victims' loved ones wanted to make.
The bottom line: under the laws enacted in the wake
of the McDuff case, he would now be either dead or still nine years away
from an initial parole review on the 1966 Tarrant County murders. He
would find this initial review heavily stacked against him. Far more
importantly, Colleen Reed, Melissa Northrup, and perhaps seven other
women would still be alive today.
McDuff likely to take grisly
secrets to grave
By Mike Cochran -
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal 1996
HUNTSVILLE - When Bethany Sneed first
laid eyes on Kenneth McDuff, she screamed: "I hate him! I hate him! He's
evil! I want to see him fry!''
When Lori Bible learned McDuff could
be dying of liver disease, her response was: "Good!'' From Emily
Northrup: "How unfortunate.''
A Texas Ranger: "Good riddance.''
Such is the emotion surrounding
Kenneth Allen McDuff, 50, the most notorious sexual predator in modern
Texas history and the only one condemned to die by three Texas juries.
But there is a cruel irony here. While
those touched by his crimes want him dead, and the sooner the better,
some want answers first.
How many women did he kill? Where are
the bodies? And who, if anyone, did he bribe to get out of prison after
murdering three teens 30 years ago?
Interviews with The Associated Press
indicate McDuff will take his grisly secrets to the grave.
Strangely, he remains ambivalent about
cheating the executioner.
He has lost weight, but at 6-foot-3,
232 pounds, McDuff remains a hulking figure.
His hair is still dark, but thinning,
the eyes cold and empty, the mouth hard and unsmiling. With his big,
beaklike nose, the profile is that of a predatory bird.
His laughter is hollow, humorless and
rare, but then there is little to laugh about for Death Row inmate
In 1993, a Houston jury ordered him
executed for the kidnap-slaying of 22-year-old Melissa Northrup, a Waco
mother of two. In 1994, a Seguin jury assessed him the death penalty for
the abduction-rape-murder of 28-year-old Colleen Reed, an Austin
Both rulings are under appeal, but the
decisions could be moot.
McDuff says he suffers from Hepatitis
C and cirrhosis, two often related and generally fatal liver diseases.
He insists the illness is not treatable but that doctors won't tell him
how long he can expect to live.
"I consider myself dead,'' McDuff said
with a shrug in the first of three interviews on Death Row. "I'm just
waiting to be buried.''
He continues to weigh the stigma of
execution against what he perceives as a prolonged and painful death
from liver disease: "I've seen a guy die of a liver ailment. It was one
of the worst things I've seen in my life.''
On the other hand, he says he wants to
avoid the "bitterness'' and "formalities'' of an execution.
Despite these grim realities, McDuff
refuses to answer hard questions about his involvement in the Northrup
and Reed cases, citing the appeals process.
"Is he going to tell us where the
bodies are?'' wonders an angry Lori Bible of Austin, the sister of
Colleen Reed, whose body has never been found.
"Is he going to tell us which parole
board member he bribed?''
Melissa's husband, Aaron Northrup, and
sisters-in-law Bethany Sneed and Emily Northrup wonder if they will ever
learn "what happened that horrible night.''
The probable answer is no.
McDuff likewise sidesteps questions
about the 1966 shooting deaths of two boys and the vicious
rape-strangulation of their 16-year-old female companion. A Fort Worth
jury ruled that McDuff should die in the electric chair, a sentence
commuted to life in prison in 1972 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck
down the death penalty as then imposed.
At the trial, Falls County sheriff
Brady Pamplin, a former Texas Ranger, described McDuff as the most
remorseless and sadistic killer he had ever met.
Twenty-seven years later, Pamplin's
son Larry, the current sheriff of Falls County, appeared at McDuff's
Houston trial for the 1992 abduction and murder of Melissa Northrup.
"Kenneth McDuff is absolutely the most
vicious and savage individual I know,'' he told reporters. "He has
absolutely no conscience, and I think he enjoys killing.''
If McDuff had been executed as
scheduled, he said, "no telling how many lives would have been saved.''
At least nine, probably more, Texas
This is a "guy who has no soul,''
Dallas psychologist Fred Labowitz told a reporter earlier this year. He
said there is little in the history of criminal science or the study of
the criminal mind to account for McDuff's sadistic conduct.
"This guy goes beyond the study of
human behavior,'' he said, predicting that McDuff, even on his deathbed,
would not surrender his ugly secrets.
Dr. Labowitz never examined McDuff but
said he based his conclusions on what he had learned about him,
particularly his early days in the tiny town of Rosebud in Central
"In some people we can find behavior
antecedents in childhood. An absent father, a drunken mother, an abusive
home. But it appears there was none of these. It seems his incredible
lust for evil appeared spontaneously and full blown.''
No matter how thorough the studies of
the Ted Bundys and Charles Mansons of the world, Labowitz said, "none of
this can prepare us for an encounter with Kenneth McDuff.''
In jail whites, locked in a tiny cell
and speaking through a glass and wire barrier, McDuff is less menacing
than Hannibal the Cannibal in "Silence of the Lambs.''
But not much.
He is escorted in and out of the Ellis
Unit reception room in handcuffs, and seems more curious than wary. Most
of his previous comments to reporters have been angry profanities.
"I'm not here to plead my way out of
this,'' he says, then volunteers what sounds like an explanation of
sorts for a lifetime of violent crimes.
"Most of the people on Death Row have
a mental condition. They committed horrible crimes they had no control
over. ... They have some kind of disorder they can't control.''
If they had received treatment,
chances are they wouldn't be in prison, he says.
"As a rule, the people on Death Row
are not ordinary criminals who are after your money or your valuables.
... Regular criminals are much more vicious and violent. ... The general
prison population is more dangerous and threatening than those on Death
"Death Row is like a mental
McDuff indicates he might once have
suffered a mental disorder, but he did not admit as much. In fact, he
He denies published reports that his
daughter, Theresa, was the child of a woman he raped and left for dead
in 1964, or that he tried to persuade her to smuggle drugs and become a
Las Vegas prostitute.
He also denies her claim that McDuff's
family paid a $25,000 bribe to a former parole board member to gain his
freedom in 1989.
At worst, he indicates now, the 1995
liaison with Theresa's mother was "date rape,'' Theresa herself was into
drugs and that he suggested Las Vegas only because she could earn money
dealing cards in the casinos.
The bribery allegation he denies
"She came up with all sorts of things
in the '90s she hadn't come up with before,'' he says.
He insists also that Roy Dale Green
lied about the 1966 murders of teen-age cousins Mark Dunnam and Robert
Brand and the rape-slaying of Edna Louise Sullivan.
The state's star witness, Green, then
18, told how McDuff grabbed the trio at a ballpark, forced the boys into
their car trunk and shot them in the face while they begged for mercy.
In an isolated field south of Fort
Worth, he said, McDuff forced him to also rape the terrified young woman
before strangling her with a broomstick.
Edna Sullivan was not his first sexual
assault victim, he bragged. Nor would she be his last. "Killing a
woman's like killing a chicken,'' Green recalled McDuff telling him
"They both squawk.''
Sentenced to die, McDuff narrowly
escaped execution three times before the death penalty was ruled
Nine years later, in 1981, McDuff
attempted to buy his way out of prison, a charge he can only lamely
deny. He dangled a $10,000 payoff in front of a member of the parole
board, and promptly got himself convicted of bribery.
That should have ended any chance of
But in 1989, with Texas prisons
overflowing and state officials under fire from the federal judiciary,
McDuff was quietly turned loose on an unsuspecting citizenry.
"They'll never convince me that what
they did was right or ethical,'' says Ms. Bible. "The only way he knows
to have a relationship with a woman is to abduct them, rape them and
She says he went to prison a killer,
came out a killer and will kill again if given an opportunity.
"They'll try to convince me in a few
years that he's 70 years old and will never hurt anybody again. That's
(expletive). He'll find a way to rape and murder...
"None of us will be safe until he's
According to Texas Monthly, Sheriff
Pamplin shared that opinion on the day McDuff was released.
"I don't know if it'll be next week or
next month or next year,'' he told fellow officers, "but one of these
days, dead girls are gonna start turning up, and when that happens, the
man you need to look for is Kenneth McDuff.''
Within days, the naked body of a woman
did indeed turn up. Prostitute Sarafia Parker, 31, had been beaten,
strangled and dumped in a field near Temple.
McDuff's parole officer was based in
McDuff's freedom in 1989 was
interrupted briefly. Jailed after a minor racial incident, he slithered
through the system and was out again in 1990.
In early 1991, McDuff enrolled at
Texas State Technical College in Waco. Soon, Central Texas prostitutes
began disappearing. One, Valencia Joshua, 22, was last seen alive Feb.
24, 1991. She reportedly was on campus looking for McDuff.
Her naked, decomposed body later was
discovered in a shallow grave in woods behind TSTC.
Another of the missing women, Regenia
Moore, was last seen kicking and screaming in the cab of McDuff's pickup
During the Christmas holidays of 1991,
Colleen Reed disappeared from an Austin car wash. Witnesses reported
hearing a woman scream that night and seeing two men speeding away in a
yellow or tan Thunderbird.
Little more than two months later, on
March 1, 1992, Melissa Northrup, pregnant with a third child, vanished
from the Waco convenience store where she worked. McDuff's beige
Thunderbird, broken down, was discovered a block from the store.
Fifty-seven days later, a fisherman
found the young woman's nearly nude body floating in a gravel pit in
Dallas County, 90 miles north of Waco.
By then, McDuff was the target of a
Just days after Mrs. Northrup's
funeral, McDuff was recognized on television's "America's Most Wanted''
and arrested May 4 in Kansas City, Mo.
Meanwhile, a small-time thug named
Hank Worley, under intense questioning by authorities, had confessed
that it was he and McDuff who abducted Ms. Reed. Worley, then 34, said
they went to Austin Dec. 29, 1991, looking for drugs.
"McDuff said he was going to take a
girl that night,'' Worley recalled.
They found Ms. Reed alone at the car
wash, and McDuff grabbed her by the throat and forced her into the back
seat of the car, Worley said.
"Please, not me,'' he said she begged.
Worley said he and McDuff took turns
raping her as they drove north up Interstate 35 and then to a site near
The attacks continued at a dark, rural
site. Worley said McDuff tied his victim's hands behind her back, raped
her on the hood of his car, beat her viciously and tortured her sexually
with burning cigarettes.
Afterward, Worley said, McDuff ordered
her into the trunk of his car and asked Worley for a knife and a shovel.
"He said he was going to use her up
and get rid of her,'' Worley said.
No less a liar than Roy Dale Green is
Alva Hank Worley, McDuff says matter-of-factly.
"The only reason I went to Austin was
to rob the big-time drug dealers,'' he maintains. "Worley wanted to
abduct a woman off the street. I told him no.''
When federal marshals first questioned
Worley he denied any knowledge of the Reed case, McDuff said.
"But they kept the pressure on him and
he finally started pointing the finger at me. ... All of his confessions
are different. Very different. The reason they are different was because
... whatever he believed they wanted, he was trying to give to them.''
So, in a third and final interview,
McDuff was asked whether he was with Worley that night.
"I wasn't with Worley.''
And Green's a liar?
"Right. His statements contradict one
And the Melissa Northrup case?
"They had to convict me with the news
media. The facts of the case didn't warrant it.''
The news media convicted you?
"None of the cases independently
should have been convictions. The news media accused me of having tie-ins
in all of them.''
Are you saying that you've been
convicted in three separate murder cases, that you're a suspect in half
a dozen more, that you've been given three death penalties, and that in
fact you're as innocent as the fresh fallen snow?
"No,'' he spat back. "I'm telling you
what the evidence is. ... There wasn't sufficient evidence in any of
these cases for a conviction.''
M RACE: W TYPE: N MOTIVE: Sex./Sad.
Killed three teens, 1966; rape slayer of women, 1991-92.
Condemned, 1966 (commuted to life, 1972; paroled 1990); condemned on one
count, 1993; executed Nov. 17, 1998.
Roy Dale Green (1948- ), served 13 years of 31-year sentence for his
part in 1966 triple murder; Alva Hank Worley (1958- ), confessed
participation in one 1992 kidnapping, granted immunity for turning