Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Obscure Streetwalker Strangler

A Violent Life

The conventional wisdom is that serial killers never stop of their own volition. Once the compulsion to kill sets in, it can never be satisfied. The murdering ceases only when a killer dies or goes to prison, or so says the experts.

Lorenzo Gilyard
Lorenzo Gilyard

But Lorenzo Gilyard violated the conventional wisdom. He stopped.

No one knows why, since he has never admitted that he ever started.

The experts also say that serial killers often have a violent pedigreethat savagery breeds savagery. This was true with Gilyard.

His father was convicted of rape in 1970. Lorenzo's sister, Patricia Dixon, a prostitute, stabbed a customer to death in 1983 and was later implicated in the killing of another hooker. His younger brother, Daryle, is serving life without parole in Missouri for a 1989 drug murder.

Daryle Gilyard is a notable Show-Me State inmate. He pays $1,100 a month in prison room-and-board from a $4.3 million settlement he won in 1986 after his legs were severed in a garbage truck accident.

Lorenzo Gilyard, a stocky 5-foot-9 man with bear-claw hands, was wired for violence. Over his lifetime, he assaulted friends, relatives and strangers, while again and again managing to dodge hard prison time.

Even as a teenager, young Gilyard was bullying and beating women, including the first of his four wives, whom he married at age 17 when she got pregnant. She would later say that Gilyard subjected her to five years of torture before she escaped.

He also compiled a numbing record of at least a dozen rape accusations.

Five rape charges failed to stick from 1969 until 1974the last against a stripper.

Finally, in 1975, he was brought up on charges of raping a 13-year-old girl, the daughter of a friend. He was sentenced to nine months for molestation in a plea deal, but authorities blew an opportunity to get mental help for a clearly troubled man.

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