Born in 1939, Corll's parents divorced, married, and then divorced each other again before he was 14. Fortunately for Dean and his brother, it was an amicable break up that afforded them to spend time with both parents.
His family had ended up in Texas when his mother eventually married a traveling salesman. Following some advice, his mom and stepdad started a candy company, which the latter sold along his sales routes. His mother and his stepdad eventually divorced, leading to Corll's mother and him starting up a new company with Dean as the vice-president. The new 'Corll Candy Company' employed various teenage boys from the Houston neighborhood the company was located in. One of these boys complained to Corll's mother that Dean had made sexual advances toward him; the complaint lost him his job.
In 1964, Corll was drafted into the army. He served for ten months and was able to leave, claiming that he was needed to help run his family's business. It was reported that Corll despised his time in the military, but also revealed to friends that he had his first homosexual experience while serving. When he returned, Corll developed a relationship with David Brooks - one of the many kids who hung around the candy company. The relationship turned sexual and the 15 year old Brooks spent a lot of time in Corll's apartment.
In 1970, Brooks walked into Corll's house while Corll was in the midst of assaulting two teenage boys. Corll bought Brooks' silence with a car and was then offered $200 for each boy he was willing to lure into Corll's home. Two years later, Brooks introduced Corll to Elmer Henley. Corll gave Henley the same offer per victim and told him that they were sold into a sex slave ring in Houston. Henley refused the offer initially, but took it up in 1973 when his family fell into financial trouble.
In late summer 1973, Henley invited fellow teenagers Tim Kerley and Rhonda Williams to Corll's home. There, Corll scolded Henley for bringing a girl into his home. The teenagers then smoke, drank, and huffed fumes until they passed out.
Henley woke to find himself tied up along with Williams and Kerley. Corll and Henley argued, with Henley managing to convince Corll to untie him by promising to participate in the murder of Williams and Kerley. Corll had brought a pistol for the murders and placed it down when he began ripping Kerley's clothes. Seeing an opportunity, Henley took the gun and attempted to ward Corll off. Corll stepped forward though, forcing Henley to fire five shots at him and killing him.
At the trial, it was revealed that Corll had raped, tortured, and murdered at least 28 boys during the '70-'73 period - all of them between 13 and 20 years old. Many of them were associated with Henley and Brooks, who both ended up with life sentences due to their parts in the murders.