Piers Morgan has interviewed many people who have had less than a passing acquaintance with the truth. Well, he is buddies with the US President Donald Trump.
So when he calls someone “the best liar” that he has ever known, you must sit up and listen.
Bronx Serial Killer Alex Henriquez, 57, does sound so plausible when pleading his innocence in his first interview in almost three decades.
His good looks have faded and he has piled on the pounds while being confined to a prison cell since 1992.
But the one thing that has not changed is the claim by him that he is not guilty of the three horrific murders, for which he was sentenced to 75 years behind bars.
Back in the 1980s, Henriquez was a New York taxi firm owner known to have plenty of girlfriends, even while being married three times.
But behind the facade of a charming womaniser was an evil serial killer, who managed to evade capture for murder before being eventually caught for a third savage attack. The authorities believe his victims may number as many as six.
The first victim that is known of was 14-year-old Shamira Bello, who disappeared on July 2, 1988, from her working-class neighbourhood.
Her sexually abused body was found the next day in Pelham Bay Park at a police firing range. She had been killed by repeatedly being hit on the head and strangled.
Lisa Ann Rodriguez, 21, was taken on June 14, 1990. She was found strangled with her body dumped along the Hutchinson River Parkway.
Three months later, 10-year-old Jessica Guzman vanished only to be found strangled near the Bronx River Parkway.
Her death caused a national outcry in the US. She had gone to the supermarket and never came home.
It prompted the New York Police Department to put together a task force to investigate the string of murders that had haunted the Bronx for two years.
Almost immediately after Jessica failed to return home for dinner, Henriquez came under suspicion despite his participation in search parties and candlelight prayer vigils.
He was the last person to have been seen with the girl and was well known to the other victims making him the common denominator in all three homicides.
At his trial in 1992, disgusted prosecutor Edward J Talty said of Henriquez: “He should never be allowed to breathe the same air as decent people.”
A jury found Henriquez guilty on their fourth day of deliberations at the end of a six-week trial that had featured 50 witnesses.
“B*****d, I hope they kill you,” shrieked Milagros Guzman, Jesscia’s mother.
Yet now speaking for the first time about his crimes for which he was jailed 26 years ago, Henriquez still insists to Piers: “I didn’t kill them. Listen to me carefully, I have never taken anybody’s life not even an animal. Never. To me, there is nothing worse than taking an innocent child’s life.
“When I see something on TV that has happened to a child, I get emotional and my eyes get watery because I think, ‘Wow that is what they are accusing me of’. It is not a nice thing.
“Am I capable of hurting a child? No, because I have two girls. Ironically, my second girl is called Jessica, the same name as a girl I am accused of killing. I really can’t express the pain I feel when I hear that.”
Yet after quizzing him in prison, Piers says: “This guy is the best liar I have interviewed and by best, I mean he is the most plausible liar. He is incredibly plausible and some people will fall for it.
“He was a handsome fast talking con man with plenty of good looking girlfriends. There was no apparent motive and no reason why he would do this and the hard forensic evidence is limited.
“You can see the charm, he is bigger now than he was, but when he was arrested he was in his late 20s, good looking and very charming, very polite and cool. Why would you murder two girls and three young women?
“The detectives who investigated it are in no doubt that he did it.
“I was there with him for two-and-a-half hours and I have never sat with a better liar than him, he had an answer for everything. But I didn’t believe him – and I absolutely thought he was trying to play me. He will be lying about this until the day he dies.”
When you start to dig into the evidence, you can see why the jury did not fall for Henriquez’s false charm.
From the very beginning, he
was co-operative when questioned by police, but they were disturbed by his responses to some of their questions.
And in some of his answers, he revealed details of the case that were not public knowledge.
He mentioned a floral design on Jessica’s underwear that police did not know about and a cut to her bra that was not in the public domain. When they cleaned her decomposed body and the under garments, they matched his description.
Henriquez has no explanation for this even now, saying: “How do I know certain things? I only know the pictures.”
He stutters before claiming “they told me about it” and goes on to blame the police officers.
Henriquez’s former landlady, Emy Valesquez, also says he had the perfect cover to lure the youngest of his victims.
She insisted: “We teach our kids that you don’t take things from strangers, but he wasn’t really a stranger to them.
“He saw them in the neighbourhood, he was friendly, he would give them candy, and little by little he would have gain their trust.” Henriquez also at first denied knowing Lisa when she was found dead. But when asked about a date they had been on, he admitted knowing her but stressed he never saw her after their date.
Pushed on this now, Henriquez struggles to cover his tracks.
He replied: “Yes, I had a sexual relationship with Lisa.
“Please understand I don’t want to offend the victims’ families. We would just go out, she would call me or I would call her. She was not my girlfriend because she had a boyfriend.
“I am a liar, does that make me a killer? Is there something wrong with me?
Yeah, I’m innocent. I have been innocent from day one.”
Piers, who has interviewed a number of murderers for his crime series, says: “The common denominator in serial killers is that you can’t imagine them being serial killers, but that is one of the things that allows them to get away with it for so long.
“They are very good liars and able to cover their tracks, that is what makes them different from ordinary killers, you have got to be smart to evade detection for long periods of time.
“They have this streak in them where they are psychopathic killers but what allows them to get away with it is a
- Serial Killer With Piers Morgan, tomorrow night, ITV, 9pm.
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