Is Obscure KC Case Evidence of Serial Murder Overload?


Is America on serial murder overload? Court TV's notes that most of the country ignored the case of Lorenzo Gilyard, a Kansas City man who murdered 13 prostitutes–more than Jack the Ripper–before he was caught through DNA testing and sentenced last month to life without parole. “It used to be that you'd murder two or three people, and everyone in the country would know your name,” said Thomas Carroll, a retired sociology professor from Kansas City. “Now a guy kills 13, and nobody's ever heard of him.”

Ray Surette, a criminologist at the University of Central Florida, said it takes more than a murder “head count” to make the national news. “You have to do something more dramatic and violent than some other guy did last year to get the equivalent amount of coverage,” he said. And what murder might attract optimal attention? “If Madonna kills someone and the whole thing is captured on videotape so we can put in on TV and post it on the Internet,” said Surette.


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