Elmer Wayne Henley, his once-long hair now cropped closely and flecked with gray, shakes his head three times.
"No. No. No," he mutters softly, as his ice-blue eyes study the artist's renderings of three unidentified murder victims. "I don't recognize any of these people."
Henley, who turned 52 in May, sits behind a glass divider in the visiting room at the Michael Unit, a Texas prison set amid cow pastures and sprawling ranches about an hour south of Dallas.
Henley is serving six life sentences with little chance of parole for his role in the torture and murder of 27 young boys in the early 1970s _ at the time, the worst mass murder in the country's history.
The three faces he studies are artists' renderings of the only victims who still remain unidentified, three decades after they were killed by Dean Corll, a Houston electric company worker, and his two teenage accomplices, Henley and David Owen Brooks.
The teenager who led police to the bodies of the murdered boys has become a weathered middle-aged man who has spent the last 35 years inside the walls of prison cells, and expects to end his life there.
But that eagerness to reveal everything he knows, to somehow atone for his crimes by holding nothing back, still lingers. He wants badly to impress that upon a visitor, to show that he would identify the last victims if he could.
"If you don't want to live a lie any longer, you quit lying and there are only two things you can do if you don't want to lie. You can refuse to answer or you can tell the truth," said Henley. "I told the truth. In order to do all I could do. It's not much, but that was the most I could do to put things right."
So, in the days after Corll was killed, Henley named the victims he could remember. He told investigators how Corll recruited him and Brooks to find boys for a "white slavery" ring. How he later stumbled upon Corll torturing one of the victims.
"He told me he had killed the last one and was gonna rape and kill this one and that I was already involved in murder," recounted Henley. "I dithered a long time and allowed myself to essentially be run by Corll. It took those 15 to 17 months to get out."
In 1986, Henley even volunteered to undergo hypnosis _ an attempt to dislodge any hidden or repressed memories of possible victims. Nothing new was revealed.
"I'm sad that any mother has to go through that, sad that any boy, any child, is done like that," said Henley. "I've said I'm sorry again to these people I've caused hurt to. But I think I've already told everybody everything I know. I think I've given all the help I can give."
Today, Henley spends his days reading science fiction novels and deconstructing his choices and actions. He is looking for an answer to a question that plagues him: Why did he blindly obey Corll's dictums? How could he keep another teenager from falling into the same trap?
"I have worked that out. I've dealt with enough in life to know that as a mature man this wouldn't happen again, but nothing to stop teenager from making same mistake," said Henley, a tear trickling from his eye. "I'm really terribly scared to miss that. I don't want to die a complete negative in life."