Piers Morgan on ‘Serial Killer’ Interviews: ‘I Had to Control Myself Not to Punch Them’

Second episode of Oxygen true-crime show airs on Monday night

Piers Morgan Lorenzo Gilyard

Piers Morgan says it was hard to sit down with the man known as the Kansas City Strangler for his show “Serial Killer With Piers Morgan” — because he wanted to hit him.

“With ‘Serial Killer,’ I felt nothing but loathing and quite frankly, I had to control myself not to punch them in the face,” he said of Lorenzo Gilyard and other interview subjects.

The second episode, which airs on Monday night, includes the 68-year-old Gilyard, who was convicted on six counts of murder in 2007. Prosecutors contend he raped and killed 13 women in all, but he claims he’s innocent.

At the end of the episode, Morgan gets extremely confrontational with Gilyard, who gets hostile in return. Morgan told TheWrap he worried about his safety as he sat two feet from Gilyard at the Crossroads Correctional Center in Missouri.

“It’s pretty intimidating. I can’t pretend otherwise. Lorenzo Gilyard, the ‘Kansas City Strangler,’ strangled at least 12 people and he’s just sitting two feet away, there’s only one guard standing at the other end of the room,” Morgan said. “These are the most dangerous criminals imaginable and on one level, you think, surely nothing will happen, but at the other point, he has nothing to lose. It’s an intimidating dynamic and you have to keep your wits about it. But you gotta watch it because before you go in. You get warnings about them.”

In the first episode of the show, which aired last Monday, Morgan interviewed Mark Riebe, who was convicted of one murder but confessed to the abduction and killing of 12 more women. He later withdrew these confessions. But for Morgan, interviewing Gilyard was “more compelling” given that he seemed to have lived a normal life.

“He was more articulate, he killed more people and got away with it for a lot longer time,” he said. “There was also that twist, because he had a domesticated and happy marriage. I think I’m fascinated with crime — these killers have to be intelligent to have carried out these crimes and that adds another dimension to these criminals. I think that’s what appealed to me: Can I get inside their twisted heads or bring any comfort to people who lost a relative?”

Gilyard doesn’t like to be called a “serial killer,” though police said his semen was found on the victims. Because of the physical evidence, Morgan has no sliver of doubt that Gilyard committed the brutal crimes.

“I don’t have any doubt by the end, when you see the vast array of evidence,” he concluded. “What they are good at is delusion, manipulation and control, and they’ve had years to think about every tiny aspect of their lives — they think they know more about it than I do, and they think they get to prove their innocence to me. I know they are guilty … they are highly intelligent, but they can’t explain the unexplainable.”

“Serial Killer with Piers Morgan” airs on Oxygen tonight.