KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A man suspected of killing seven women commented about the victims being strangled even though police had not told him that detail, a detective testified Friday.
Lorenzo Gilyard, a 56-year-old former trash company supervisor, is on trial before a judge in Jackson County Circuit Court for seven deaths in 1986 and 1987. He faces life in prison if convicted in any of the killings.
Arrested in 2004, Gilyard was initially charged with killing 13 women and girls between 1977 and 1993. But prosecutors dropped six of the cases to concentrate on the seven in which they said DNA and other evidence was strongest.
The defense contends Gilyard is innocent and that proving sexual encounters does not prove murder.
On Friday, Kansas City Police Detective Marcus Regan took the stand to testify about Gilyard's arrest and interrogation. Regan recounted asking Gilyard if he had killed any women after ending a romantic relationship in the 1980s.
"He stated that if he had strangled any of the 12 girls, he would be crazy to do something like that," Regan said.
"Did you ask him why he said the victims had been strangled?" assistant prosecutor Ted Hunt asked.
Regan replied: "Yes, I did. He stated he did not know."
On cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas Jacquinot asked Regan if he knew whether news media had reported the strangulations, making it common knowledge.
"I didn't know," Regan said. "And apparently he didn't either."
Prosecutors also played a video from the interrogation in which Gilyard denied knowing any of the women.
They also established that Gilyard had lived less than a mile from where one body was found, less than two miles from four bodies and less than five miles from all seven.
In response, Jacquinot noted that police said six of the victims were prostitutes. Regan said they worked within five miles of Gilyard's home.
The defense will begin presenting its case before Circuit Judge John O'Malley on Monday.