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Henry Louis Wallace
Serial killers are among the most reckless of murderers. Their need to keep killing far outweighs their need to be cunning or discreet. What allows many serial killers to keep killing is that their carelessness is dwarfed by police and investigative incompetence. The great majority of serial killers, like John Wayne Gacy, are well known to the police as violent sexual offenders long before their murders finally catch up with them. Such is the case of Henry Louis Wallace, a black serial killer who killed young black women the police just didn't seem to care about.
When he was arrested on Feb. 4, 1994, in Charlotte, N.C., Henry Louis Wallace had already raped and strangled to death five young black women. Each of his victims worked in the fast-food industry, and more significantly, each knew Wallace and was a friend of his girlfriend. Wallace's name appeared in the address books of several of the deceased. At the time of his arrest, Wallace had a burglary record, a prior charge of raping a woman at gunpoint, and connection to all five murder victims. Unfortunately for Wallace's next four murder victims, all this meant nothing to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and the prosecutor's office, which released Wallace from custody that same day.
Wallace had not, after all, been arrested for murder. He had been arrested for allegedly shoplifting at a mall.
At the time of Wallace's arrest on the shoplifting charge, the police did not consider the string of murders of the young black women related. They did not have significant leads on any of them. Wallace would kill again 16 days later.