Real Name: E.J. Henderson
Location: Washburn, Texas
Date: May 16, 1991
Case[edit | edit source]
Details: On May 12, 1991, sixty-six-year-old Washburn, Texas resident Bill Henderson said goodbye to his wife, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter as they left to go on a trip to visit relatives in Austin, 400 miles away. Bill's failing health prevented him from going on the trip. He stayed in touch with family members for the next three days.
However, when his son Garry was unable to get a hold of him for a day, he decided to check on him. Garry, his brother-in-law Frank, and Frank's stepdaughter Sheri went to Bill's home on May 16. They were concerned when they noticed that his pickup truck was gone. Inside, they found the phone off the hook. While walking down a hallway, Garry found his father's glasses laying on the floor, apparently broken. Looking in his bedroom, he found his body laying next to his bed. Bill had suffered a brutal, horrific beating, and the assailant used an electric iron. He had also been strangled. He had died at least eight hours before he was found. Along with his truck, his wallet was also missing.
Five days later, his wallet was found by a man walking along Interstate 40, about ninety miles east of Amarillo. The next day, his truck was found abandoned in Chicago, more than 1000 miles away. Investigators soon learned of a strange encounter and two witnesses who may have spent the day with the killer.
On the day of the murder, two hitchhikers and an unidentified man entered a truck stop near Oklahoma City, 260 miles from Washburn. The nervous hitchhikers told the truck stop attendant that the pickup truck that they were in had been stolen by the third man. The third man made a phone call and then used the restroom. During this time, the attendant contacted the police and gave them the license plate number.
However, since the truck had not yet been reported stolen, there was nothing that the police could do. The problem was that at the time, Bill's body had not been found, so nobody knew that the truck was actually stolen. Fifteen minutes later, the third man left; the hitchhikers refused to go with him. The two then decided to call the police, but again, they could not do anything because the truck was not reported missing. The two hitchhikers left soon afterward, without leaving their names or addresses.
Not long after, Bill's body was found. A bloody palm print was found in his room; it is the one of the only keys to the identity of his killer, along with the hitchhikers. Neither the suspect nor the hitchhikers have been identified.
Suspects: Two hitchhikers spent several hours with the perpetrator. He was described as a Caucasian male, twenty-five-years-old (in 1991), 6'1", with a husky build, and his hair tied in several ponytails.
Police would also like to speak again with the hitchhikers, in hopes of obtaining more information about the suspect.
Extra Notes: The original airdate for this case was May 17, 1992.
Results: Solved. On the night of the broadcast, the hitchhikers, who were cousins, came forward and contacted the telecenter. Soon after, they were put under hypnosis in hopes of identifying the killer. However, they were unable to give enough information to identify a suspect.
In December of 2005, police re-opened the case and located a witness who had been overlooked in the initial investigation. Initially, investigators believed that the phone call the suspect made at the truck stop was to a shelter. However, during the new investigation, they found that the suspect had actually called a residence. The owner of the residence told them about a roommate that lived with her in 1991.
The roommate claimed that she had received the call from the suspect; she said that his first name was "Larry" and that he lived in a town near a lake in New York. She said the town's name started with an "S" and sounded strange. Investigators were able to identify the town as Skaneateles, New York. Through this, they were able to identify a possible suspect, Lawrence W. "Larry" Tutt.
Tutt was a transient and a known criminal who was in custody in Ohio on an escape charge. DNA evidence and the palm print connected him to the crime scene. In July of 2006, he was indicted for Bill's murder. In November of 2007, he pleaded guilty to murder and was later sentenced to forty-five years in prison. However, he is already serving time in New York for the 1998 arson and murder of William Frietag.
William and Tutt were close family friends. William died in a fire that destroyed his home. Initially, it was ruled an accident. Tutt was at the home when the fire started and told several different stories about what had happened. William's family was convinced that he was murdered. In William's apartment, they found paperwork which stated that he had been arrested on drug charges in New Mexico. However, when police located the arrest report, it showed a photograph of Tutt. He apparently had stolen William's identity and killed him so that his charges would be dropped. Evidence was later found in the apartment which indicated that an accelerant had been used. While in jail on drug charges, Tutt admitted to his cellmates that he had set the fire and murdered William.
In 2014, Tutt completed his sentence for escape in Ohio and began serving his twenty-five year sentence in New York. Once he completes his New York sentence, he will begin his forty-five year sentence in Texas. He is currently suspected of being responsible for other murders and may possibly be a serial killer.
- Suspect named in ’91 killing
- Ohio inmate indicted in '91 case
- Man indicted for murder in 15-year-old unsolved mystery
- Break In an area Cold Murder Case
- Cold case may bring justice
- Convict linked to Texas slaying
- Tutt currently in Ohio jail for escape attempt
- Man who killed friend in fire faces Texas murder charge
- Guilty Plea in 15 Year Cold Case
- Slaying of Henderson's father near Amarillo finally solved
- True crime series premieres with episode about 1998 Skaneateles murder
- Bill Henderson at Find a Grave
- Lawrence Tutt has a page on the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision website.