Tuesday, 12 January 2016

117.Lorenzo J. GILYARD Jr.

A.K.A.: "The Kansas City Strangler"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 13
Date of murders: 1977 - 1993
Date of arrest: April 19, 2004
Date of birth: May 24, 1950
Victims profile: Women aged between 15 and 36 years
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole on April 14, 2007

Lorenzo Gilyard, (born c.1951), is an American serial killer. A former trash company supervisor, Gilyard is considered to have raped and murdered 13 women and girls in a period spanning 1977 to 1993. He was convicted of 6 counts of murder on 2007-03-16.
The crimes
Most, if not all of the victims were prostitutes. All were found shoeless and dumped in secluded spots around Kansas City. Most had cloth or paper towels stuffed into their mouths and ligature marks around their necks.
Gilyard had previously served time for child molestation. Probation records show that from 1969 to 1974 he was suspected of five rapes, but was never convicted. Gilyard became a suspect in 1987 in the murder of Sheila Ingold. A crime lab later linked all 13 victims to one killer using DNA testing. A blood sample Gilyard provided in the 1987 investigation led to the murder charges.
The trial
Gilyard was tried on 7 first-degree murder charges. The prosecution focused mainly on DNA evidence that criminal forensics experts shows he had sex with the victims around the time they were killed.
"All the victims have several things in common: All were found dead during the same one and a half year period, all were left in secluded or obstructed locations, all were strangled, all showed signs that they were involved in a struggle, all were missing their shoes and all but one showed distinct signs of sexual intercourse," Prosecution Attorney Jim Kanatzar said in opening statements to the court.
Gilyard was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Gilyard was convicted in the murders of:
Catherine M. Barry, 34
Naomi Kelly, 23
Ann Barnes, 36
Kellie A. Ford, 20
Sheila Ingold, 36
Carmeline Hibbs, 30.
He was acquitted of the murder of Angela Mayhew, 19, due to insufficient evidence.
Other victims not brought to trial were identified as:
Stacie L. Swofford, 17
Gwendolyn Kizine, 15
Margaret J. Miller, 17
Debbie Blevins, 32
Helga Kruger, 26
Connie Luther, 29.

Lorenzo J. Gilyard Jr.
Early 2004, Kansas City police knew that a serial killer had strangled at least a dozen women from 1977 to 1993. But the key clue - a blood sample stored on a freezer shelf for more than 15 years - finally enabled them to arrest the man they said was responsible for strangling at least 12 women.
Police began following Lorenzo J. Gilyard, Jr. on April 12, 2004, when DNA linked him to the 12 murders. They said Gilyard didn't do anything unusual during the five days they tracked him.
He went to work early, came home early and spent most of his time inside his house in the 8300 block of Kenwood Ave.
The plan was to watch Gilyard to ensure public safety while detectives tied up loose ends in the investigation and then arrest him on Monday 19 april. But as officers tailed Gilyard Friday night (16 april), they became concerned that he knew he was being followed.
Officers walked into the Denny's restaurant at 1400 Burlington St. in North Kansas City Friday night and quietly asked him to come with them, which he did. He had gone there with a female co-worker from Deffenbaugh Disposal Service. She was briefly questioned and then had to find her own way home. Police said information they received later made them believe Gilyard was unaware he was being followed.
Prosecutors on 17 april, charged Gilyard with 10 counts of first-degree murder and two counts of capital murder in connection with the deaths of 11 prostitutes and one mentally ill woman. All were strangled. Eleven were sexually assaulted. Nine were found nude, many of the bodies were posed and several appeared to have been bound at the wrists.
Six victims had items tied around their necks. The items included a shoe string, an electrical cord and the victims' clothing. The killer apparently used whatever was handy. Five other victims showed signs of being strangled, but no objects were found on their necks.
Gilyard is not charged with any of a series of prostitute murders in which the victims were found in the Missouri River. Those cases from the 1980s and 1990s remain unsolved. Gilyard is not connected to the recently publicized "BTK" murders in Wichita, police said. Those victims were bound, tortured and killed.
Kansas City Police Detective Mike Luster said the latest re-investigation into the unsolved killings began in 2001, when he looked at the deaths of two women that were linked to the same unknown suspect through DNA.
Over the years, he looked for cases with similar victims to see if they were linked. He worked closely with the crime lab, where experts tested about 75 DNA samples from potential suspects and victims, and eventually linked the 12 victims.
Then in april 2004, the crime lab found a suspect whose DNA matched the evidence from all 12 crime scenes.
Gilyard was one of several men who gave blood samples during investigations into women's murders. He provided blood voluntarily in 1987 in the investigation of the death of Shelia Ingold, one of the 12 women he has been charged with killing. Police said Gilyard's name had come up in the investigation.
"This is a victory for DNA testing," Jackson County Prosecutor Mike Sanders said. "It's another example of what DNA can do for us in law enforcement."
Kansas City Police Detective Mike Luster was "ecstatic" when he heard a suspect was matched to the victims.
"We had put months and years into these investigations," he said, adding that since the murders occurred, dozens of other detectives had put in a lot of work on the cases.
The 12 women Lorenzo Gilyard is accused of killing over 16 years lived hard lives and died hard deaths.
Despite their troubled lives, they were good people whom their families hated to lose to such violence.
Most were known by Kansas City police to be prostitutes. Many came from difficult circumstances. Family members said some were addicted to drugs.
Gilyard is accused in these 12 cases, according to police and court records:
Stacie L. Swofford, 17 years-old, she was Found murdered, April 17, 1977
Gwendolyn Kizine, 15, years-old, she was Found murdered, Jan. 23, 1980
Margaret J. Miller, 17, years-old, she was Found murdered, May 9, 1982
Catherine M. Barry, 34, years-old, she was Found murdered, March 14, 1986
Naomi Kelly, 23, years-old, she was Found murdered, Aug. 16, 1986
Debbie Blevins, 32, years-old, she was Found murdered, Nov. 27, 1986
Ann Barnes, 36, years-old, she was Found murdered, April 17, 1987
Kellie A. Ford, 20, years-old, she was Found murdered, June 9, 1987
Angela M. Mayhew, 19 years-old, she was Found murdered, Sept. 12, 1987
Shelia Ingold, 36, years-old, she was Found murdered, Nov. 3, 1987
Carmeline R. Hibbs, 30, years-old, she was Found murdered, Dec. 19, 1987
Connie Luther, 29, years-old, she was Found murdered, Jan. 11, 1993
Born May 24, 1950, in Kansas City, Gilyard grew into a troubled young adult. Marrying for the first time at age 18, he fathered 11 children with several wives and girlfriends.
In the past he was in and out of jail and prison in the late 1970s and the 1980s on charges ranging from molestation and sexual abuse to burglary and assault.
For the younger Gilyard, the 1970s were marked by periodic scrapes with the law - a weapons charge, disturbing the peace, lying to police officers - that usually netted him short jail time and small fines.
Court records and newspaper accounts reveal that during a six-month period in 1974 he was twice arrested for rape. In February of that year, he was accused of raping a 25-year-old exotic dancer near 27th Street and Troost Avenue. Later she identified Gilyard's Chevrolet convertible and picked him out of a lineup.
Prosecutors never obtained a conviction in the incident.
The following July, he was charged with raping a friends 13-year-old sister near the Missouri River.
Gilyard was charged with beating and raping the 13-year-old girl. He told police that she was lying. Ultimately he pleaded guilty to molesting the girl and received a nine-month sentence in the Jackson County Jail.
According to Jackson County court records, Gilyard was accused in 1979 of kidnapping a couple and raping the woman while holding her boyfriend hostage at gunpoint. Although the boyfriend picked Gilyard from a police lineup and hairs from the victim were found in the building where Gilyard worked as a maintenance worker, jurors acquitted him of rape in September 1980.
That same year, he was convicted of aggravated assault for threatening to shoot his third-wife. She divorced him in January 1981. The next month, Gilyard assaulted his ex-wife twice -- beating and pistol-whipping her during one attack and breaking her front teeth and stabbing her in the arm with an ice pick in the second attack. He was convicted of third-degree assault in each case. He mainly served probation for the crimes.
In November 1981, Gilyard earned his first sentence to a state prison in Missouri when he was sentenced to four years for second-degree burglary.
He began serving that sentence on May 17, 1982, eight days after the body of Margaret J. Miller, authorities now suspect he killed was found. He was released on parole on Jan. 10, 1983, but returned to prison after violating the terms of his release.
Following a complaint from Wyandotte County authorities in 1983, Gilyard was sentenced to a Missouri prison for up to four years for making a bomb threat.
On his return, Gilyard appeared to settle down. He went to work for the company that had employed his father in its maintenance department, Deffenbaugh Disposal Service.
Gilyard began working in residential trash collection for the company on Jan. 2, 1986. He began his career on the back of a trash truck and worked his way up to driver and then two years ago was promoted to supervisor.
Company spokesman Tom Coffman said Gilyard was a reliable employee. "He had respect for his peers and was even-tempered and friendly," Coffman said. "He would bring gifts to people here regularly, like on their birthdays."
People close to Gilyard, described him as reliable, friendly, helpful, hard working and "quick to make a joke."
Gilyard, neighbors described Gilyard also as friendly and helpful. Once, when he picked up trash on his street, he knocked on a neighbor's door because the neighbor had forgotten to put out his trash.
Neighbors said he was proud of his job and the two Mercedes automobiles he babied and drove on weekends and that he sometimes hit golf balls in his backyard.
On Gilyard's front door hangs a wood sign engraved with "Gilyard" and below the names "Lorenzo" and "Jackie." Though he has been married several times, the latest marriage has lasted about a decade.
Neighbor Lee Weldon said "I'm shocked, he's a real nice guy, a nice neighbor."
Gilyard's name jumped to police attention again in March 1989.
One night he helped a neighbor load a bicycle into her car and later invited her to an omelet dinner in his home, according to court records. After three or four glasses of wine, Gilyard reached across the table and began pulling at the woman's top, saying he wanted to see her breasts.
She recoiled and backed through the studio apartment, landing on a bed with Gilyard straddling her waist.
"I kept telling him that all I wanted to do was go home," the woman said later in a deposition. "Let me go home. Let me go home."
And the entire time, Gilyard said that "he was going to kill himself," the woman recalled. Gilyard took a kitchen knife and placed it at his own throat and then at the woman's.
Afterward, Gilyard let the woman leave, records show. She immediately called police. Authorities charged Gilyard with forcible sodomy, sexual abuse and assault. The case appeared headed for trial, but Gilyard pleaded guilty to everything except the sodomy charge on Oct. 30, 1989.
The victim agreed to the plea bargain because she did not want her mental health history debated before a jury, according to a transcript of the hearing. She also did not want to admit in court that she had been drinking before the incident.
The deal had something for Gilyard, too. He was placed on probation for three years and was required to seek counseling for sexual abuse and anger control. The victim supported the plea agreement.
One of Gilyard's other neighbors had also troubles with him.
According to court records, Gilyard approached the woman in September 1995 and began describing intimate details about her. She began to suspect that Gilyard was stalking her.
For months, Gilyard made unwanted advances that included lewd gestures, the neighbor reported in court filings.
"I have pointed out to him that he is married, to which he simply shrugs and indicates that what his wife doesn't know won't hurt her," the neighbor wrote in court records.
Gilyard tried to act like a friendly neighbor by bringing her wine or firewood, she said, but "I felt there was a control game at issue here."
She answered her doorbell one early morning and found Gilyard standing there with a newspaper, she said. "He eyed me in his robe, and made an obscene sexual gesture "I yelled, ‘I'm not interested.'"
Other times she saw him looking in her window, she said, and she twice saw him lurking outside her rented home at night.
"As a deaf single woman living alone," the woman said, "I fear for my safety and security in my house."
In July 1996, the neighbor filed for an order of protection and then moved out of town.
Other neighbors said that they also had qualms about Gilyard.
Penny Bradley said she and her husband were moving a new television into their home in the fall of 2001 when they backed a truck into Gilyard's driveway. He came out and confronted them about being on his property, which is marked with signs that warn against trespassing. A sign posted on a large tree in Gilyard's front yard says, "Private Driveway. Do Not Enter."
Her husband then went inside Gilyard's home to talk, Bradley said. While there, Gilyard displayed two guns, Penny Bradley recalled.
The couple filed a police report. Other neighbors confirmed that the Bradleys had reported to them that they had trouble with Gilyard.
Bradley, though, said she seldom saw Gilyard or his wife, except when he was washing his Mercedes and a Land Rover.
But when news broke about Gilyard being charged with 12 murders, Karen Drake, who lives several doors from Gilyard's home, was shocked.
Drake said her daughter recently sold and delivered Girl Scout cookies to Gilyard, whom she described as a friendly, good neighbor. "He was just really a nice guy," Drake said. "He bought three boxes."
Gilyard's ex wife, Rhena Hill, has also a story to tell.
Rhena Hill, now 53 years-old, married Gilyard in 1968 after she became pregnant. They divorced after what Hill described as "five years of torture."
"He's destroyed my life, Now it's crept back up. It's horrible."
Hill agreed to be interviewed on the condition that she be identified only by her maiden name.
She has remarried and tried to put her life with Gilyard behind her.
Hill and Gilyard met in high school and attended dances together. She described him as fun. But that changed when they married. The physical and mental abuse was almost continuous.
"He beat me and raped me, He threatened me and said he'd kill me."
Gilyard wouldn't let her use all the rooms of their home.
"He loves nice things, pretty things, But you can't use them. He made me live in one room, the bedroom, for five years."
Hill has received psychiatric help for the abuse she suffered during the marriage. But her nerves have been bothering her since Gilyard's arrest.
Trouble in Gilyard's family is not unusual.
In 1970, his father, Lorenzo S. Gilyard, was convicted of assault with rape and sentenced to six months.
His brother Daryle Gilyard is serving life without parole in the murder of a friend in a drug deal.
A woman who has the same mother as Gilyard also is serving a life sentence for murder. While working as a prostitute in 1983, Patricia D. Dixon, now 45, fatally stabbed a Johnson County customer 11 times in a dispute over $35.
A clerk at an adult bookstore at 34th and Main streets saw the attack. He told police that the victim had yelled, "Stop!" and the woman with the knife replied, "Go to hell!"
That year, Dixon was sentenced to 11 years in prison for assault and theft for an incident at a Denny's Restaurant at 1600 Broadway.
She also was charged in the January 1983 death of another Kansas City prostitute, but those charges were dropped.
Lorenzo J. Gilyard, Jr., the man accused of strangling a dozen women in what may be the state's largest serial murder case lived in a modest, single-story home at the end of a dead-end street.
police went to his home in the 8300 block of Kenwood Avenue hoping to find "souvenirs or trophies" from the victims, those are items that the offender will take out from time to time to enhance his fantasy when reliving the murders.
In Friday's [16 april 2004] search, officers reported that they seized audio tapes, videocassette tapes and a minicassette recorder. Returning on Saturday with a new warrant, police seized a gray floor safe, a key, a combination lock, a computer, shoes, bras and a pair of women's panties.
Police also searched Gilyard's 2002 Land Rover and a white Ford Ranger pickup truck but apparently found little of interest.
Investigators did not find some items they had sought, including a white scarf, jewelry and other items from the victims.
Authorities accused Gilyard of raping several women, but they never convicted him of rape. They charged him with armed robbery and sodomy. He defeated those accusations, too. He was, however, convicted of molestation, sexual abuse and assaults.
And now police allege he is also a serial killer, a man who preyed for 17 years on women who walked the streets. They say he killed 10 women and two girls from 1977 through 1993.
If convicted of all 12 charges, Gilyard, would be the worst serial killer in Missouri history. He would join an infamous list that includes Ray Shawn Jackson, who admitted strangling six women in or near Gillham Park in 1989 and 1990; John E. Robinson, who killed eight women in Johnson and Cass counties in the 1980s and `90s; and Bob Berdella, who committed six torture murders of men in Kansas City in the 1980s.
Gilyard is being held without bail.
He has pleaded not guilty to the 12 murder charges.

Gilyard Sentenced To Life In Prison
April 16, 2007
A judge sentenced a former trash company supervisor to life in prison without parole Friday for strangling six women in the 1980s.
It was the only sentence possible for Lorenzo Gilyard, 56, who was convicted last month of murder. Prosecutors had agreed in January not to seek the death penalty if Gilyard's attorneys agreed to a trial before a judge without a jury.
"He's forfeited any right to live here among the rest of us," Judge John O'Malley said. "That's the comfort we can derive."
O'Malley said there was a chance the women, most of whom were prostitutes, would have turned their lives around, "except he stole it from them."
Gilyard was linked to the killings in 2004 as police crime lab workers tested evidence from old unsolved cases.
Much of the testimony at his trial dealt with DNA evidence. Prosecutors said Gilyard's semen was found on six of the women. The defense contended the evidence merely proved Gilyard had sex with the women, not that he killed them.
Gilyard's attorney, Tom Jacquinot, said he plans to appeal.
"Mr. Gilyard to this day still maintains his innocence, though he certainly does empathize with the family," Jacquinot said.
Relatives of the victims watched smiling as Gilyard was led away.
The trial provided a "small measure of justice," said Timothy Barry, whose wife, Catherine, was the only victim not a prostitute. "They let us put a face on this animal."
Catherine Barry's sister, Tricia Mitchell, said they had an abusive father and that from a young age, her sister cared for her and her siblings.
"I was afraid of everything and she wasn't afraid of anything," Mitchell said.
"I would remember how, after some of the beatings, I felt the world would be better off without me," she said, crying. "Catherine would always tell me that was not true and that she needed me. Together we would make it."
Bessie Kelly recalled identifying the body of her sister, Naomi Kelly, in August 1986. She said her sister had been attending business college and caring for her two children, one of whom has since died.
"The one thing I hate the most is that Naomi never got to raise her children," Kelly said.
Gilyard had faced 13 counts of murder, but six of those counts, including one stemming from the death of an Austrian national, were dropped. Prosecutors could refile those charges later.
O'Malley acquitted Gilyard of one count of murder. The judge said prosecutors had provided him with only suspicions that Gilyard killed Angela Mayhew, not convincing proof.
Mayhew, 19, was found dead on Sept. 12, 1987. Hers was the only body that didn't contain semen, though one of Gilyard's hairs was found on her sweater.
"I'd like to think that the citizens of Jackson County can sleep a little safer tonight knowing the person who is responsible for these deaths and murders is behind bars, and will be for the rest of his life," prosecutor Jim Kanatzar said.
He said his office was reviewing the six dismissed cases to determine whether to refile them.

DNA links 13th victim to accused serial killer
May 13, 2006
KANSAS CITY (AP) - Kansas City police said the crime lab has linked a 13th victim to a man prosecutors have called the state’s most prolific serial killer.
Lorenzo J. Gilyard is charged with strangling a dozen women between the ages of 15 and 36 - all but one a prostitute - between 1977 and 1993. He was arrested in April 2004 after the crime lab used money from a federal grant to begin DNA testing of evidence in the city’s cold case files.
Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.
No charges have been filed in the latest case.

Serial killer suspect now charged with 13th murder
June 22, 2006
Jackson County prosecutors filed a new murder charge today against accused serial killer Lorenzo J. Gilyard.
Gilyard, 56, now faces 13 first-degree murder charges in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Details about the latest charge, including the identity of the victim who was killed in February 1989, were not immediately available. Jackson County Prosecutor Mike Sanders is expected to discuss the case at a press conference this afternoon.
Sanders previously charged Gilyard in connection with the deaths of three girls and nine women between 1977 and 1993. He announced last year that he is seeking the death penalty for Gilyard.

Accused killer claims innocence in 13th slaying
June 29, 2006
KANSAS CITY (AP) - A former trash company supervisor who has been called Missouri’s most prolific serial killer pleaded not guilty yesterday to a 13th slaying.
Last week Lorenzo J. Gilyard, 55, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Helga Kruger, an Austrian national who was found lying face down in a street in February 1989.
The handcuffed Gilyard, wearing an orange jumpsuit, was arraigned during a brief appearance in Jackson County Circuit Court. Judge K. Preston Dean set Gilyard’s next court appearance for July 17. Gilyard already pleaded not guilty to earlier charges of strangling a dozen women - all but one a prostitute - between 1977 and 1993. Gilyard was arrested in April 2004, after a crime lab matched DNA left on the victims to his blood sample. Prosecutor Mike Sanders said Gilyard’s trial on those slayings will be in October.
Gilyard is being held without bond at the Jackson County Jail.