Kenneth Allen McDuff


Kenneth Allen McDuff

A.K.A.: "Broomstick Murderer"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Rape - Robberies
Number of victims: 9 - 14 +
Date of murders: 1966 / 1991-1992
Date of arrest: May 4, 1992
Date of birth: March 21, 1946
Victims profile: Men and women
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Texas, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Texas on November 17, 1998

Date of Execution:
November 17, 1998
Kenneth Allen McDuff #999055
Last Statement:
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 me."

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. Northrup's slaying.

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 devil."

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

Kenneth Allen 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 of parole.

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 Huntsville Unit.

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.

Effect 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 McDuff Laws.

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 McDuff victims.

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 us."

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 Texas."

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 this year.

McDuff, 52, was believed to be the only condemned inmate in the nation ever paroled and then returned to death row for another murder.

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 Waco.

"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 me."

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 victims.

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 methamphetamines.

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.

"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 conviction.

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 behind bars.

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 citizens.

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 140,000 beds.

Good time was significantly reformed.

Minimum parole eligibility doubled for violent offenders.

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

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 999055.

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 accountant.

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 authorities suspect.

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 Texas.

"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 Row.

"Death Row is like a mental institution.''

McDuff indicates he might once have suffered a mental disorder, but he did not admit as much. In fact, he admits nothing.

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 vehemently.

"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 once.

"They both squawk.''

Sentenced to die, McDuff narrowly escaped execution three times before the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional.

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 parole.

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 murder them.''

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 dead.''

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 Temple.

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 truck.

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 nationwide manhunt.

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. "Not me.''

Worley said he and McDuff took turns raping her as they drove north up Interstate 35 and then to a site near Lake Belton.

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 another.''

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.''


MO: Killed three teens, 1966; rape slayer of women, 1991-92.

DISPOSITION: Condemned, 1966 (commuted to life, 1972; paroled 1990); condemned on one count, 1993; executed Nov. 17, 1998.

ACCOMPLICES: 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 state's evidence.




Mug shot six years after the United States Supreme Court overturned all death penalties in the case of Furman v Georgia. Only 11 years later McDuff would be paroled from a prison where he was once on Death Row. He is believed to be the only person in American History to have ever had two different death row numbers,

The most serious of McDuff's parole violations took place in his hometown of Rosebud, Texas, where he made "terroristic threats" to several African-American teenagers. McDuff was sent back to prison exactly one year after he had been set free, but only for a few weeks. His parole was reinstated by an administrator of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Kenneth McDuff

Kenneth McDuff

During a live lineup for a witness to the abduction of Colleen Reed, McDuff refused to shave and get a haircut in an obvious attempt to confuse the witness. The witness positively identified McDuff anyway.

Kenneth McDuff

Kenneth McDuff

Kenneth McDuff had no allegiance to any group. This photo was taken by the Waco Police Department when McDuff offered his services as a snitch. Undoubtedly, he would have then demanded "protection" money from the drug dealers he promised to turn in. The Waco Police Department wisely declined his offer.

Security around the federal courthouse during McDuff's arraignment was as tight as anything ever seen in the history of Waco. The security, however, was to protect McDuff from the very large crowds assembled outside of the courthouse and airport.

In March of 1998, Judge George Allen set an execution date as McDuff sat in silence and while the families of victims looked on. After one stay, Kenneth McDuff was executed in Huntsville on November 17, 1998.

Kenneth Allen McDuff is buried in the Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery, also known as "Peckerwood Hill," in Huntsville, Texas. Prisoners buried there are those without family choosing to claim their remains. The 11-17-98 refers to his execution date. The "X" means he was executed by the State of Texas, and the 999055 was his death row number.



Known Victims

Marcus Dunnam
Marcus Dunnam was visiting his cousin, Robert Brand, at the Brand home in Alvarado, Texas, during the day and night of August 6, 1966. He had been visiting his grandmother in Fort Worth. Marcus liked to play the drums.

Robert Brand
Robert Brand lived with his parents in Alvarado, Texas and was a high school student. During the early evening of August 6, 1966, he and Marcus Dunnam got into a 1957 Ford and drove to Everman to visit Robert's girlfriend, Louise Sullivan. Robert loved to play the guitar.

Louise Sullivan
Louise Sullivan was a beautiful and popular student at Everman High School. She volunteered to work on Sundays in the daycare center of her church. She was murdered by Kenneth Allen McDuff on August 6, 1966 while on an outing with her boyfriend, Robert Brand, and hhis cousin, Marcus Dunnam.

Brenda Thompson
Brenda Thompson was abducted and murdered during the evening of October 10, 1991. She was last seen screaming and trying to kick out the windshield of Kenneth McDuff's pickup truck. Her body was not recovered until October 3, 1998, in a heavily wooded area approximately 9 miles north of Waco.

Regenia Moore
Regenia DeAnn Moore was abducted and murdered during the evening of October 15, 1991. She was last seen in McDuff's pickup truck in an area of Waco called "The Cut." Her body was recovered on September 30, 1998 near a creek north and east of Waco.

Colleen Reed
Colleen Reed was a native of Ville Platte, Louisiana, and a resident of Austin, Texas, on the night of December 29, 1991 when she was kidnapped from a carwash in Austin. She was a very popular accountant for the Lower Colorado River Authority. Her body was recovered on the banks of the Brazos River, just outside of Marlin, Texas, the county seat of McDuff's native Falls County, Texas.

Valencia Joshua
Valencia Kay Joshua was a native of Arlington, Texas. She was last seen alive on the campus of the Texas State Technical Institute knocking on the window of Kenneth McDuff's dorm room. Her body was recovered a few months later in a heavily wooded area near the campus.

Melissa Ann Northrup
Melissa Ann Northrup worked at a convenience store at the corner of New Road and Interstate Highway 35 just south of Waco. On the night of February 29, 1992, Kenneth McDuff kidnapped her from the store. She was the dutiful mother of two small children and was pregnant for her third. Her body was located 51 days later in southeast Dallas County in Texas