BTK Killer: Dennis Rader

Anita T By Anita T, 7th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Celebrities>Scandals

Dennis Rader, the Bind, Torture, and Kill (BTK) killer, eluded identification for many years.

Bind, Torture, and Kill

For thirty years a serial killer roamed the streets of Wichita, Kansas. Dennis Rader's first murders were committed in 1974, when he killed four members of the Otero family, including two children. The last murder linked to BTK was committed in 1991. With no real evidence and no suspects, ten murders might have gone unavenged except for the fact that Rader contacted a newspaper complaining that he hadn't gotten any notoriety. The police tricked Rader into sending them a computer disc, which they said could not be traced. In fact, they were able to review metadata on the disc and determine that it had been produced at the Christ Lutheran Church. From there, it was a short jump to arresting the church's mild mannered Deacon.

Just a Nice Guy

By all accounts, Dennis Rader was a thoroughly unremarkable man. Nearly every facet of his life screamed "normal". Rader considered his childhood miserable but normal, and Rader's brother Jeff insisted that Dennis was the "normal" one and he was the child with problems. In any case, Rader was able to graduate high school, attend community college, hold a good job, and support a family. Eventually he produced a son and daughter, finished his four year college degree, and became a deacon at his church. Absolutely no one considered Rader a threat.

The First Killing was a Quadruple Murder

BTK's first murder was a family of four. Joseph and Julie Otero and their two children, a son and daughter, were found strangled in their home on January 15, 2004. On April 4, 1974, Kathryn Bright, 21, was stabbed in her home. Her brother was shot in the same attack, but he lived. Police concluded the attacks were related to the Otero killings. In October of 1974, the police found a note in a library book that suggested that the Oteros had been killed by a "bind them, torture them, and kill them" killer who should be called the BTK Strangler. The note contained information that had been kept from the press and that only the real killer could have known.

During this time period, Dennis Rader was working for ADT security, installing alarms on homes and businesses. The profession was perfect for a serial killer - it gave him valuable knowledge that he could use in his hunting.

Rader had worked at Coleman Company prior to coming to ADT, and it appears that he may have met both Julie Otero and Kathryn Bright at Coleman, as they worked for the company during the same time period. Later BTK was to become a code enforcement officer and a dog catcher. Each profession gave him the chance to study neighborhoods and pick out victims.

Between 1977 and 1991, BTK killed five more victims, all female. Oddly, this is the same period of time in which Jeffrey Dahmer killed at least seventeen young males.

Though He Is Not Insane, He Certainly is Guilty

Rader refused to enter a plea in his case, and aside from his killing trail, there was nothing in his life that led to any possible plea of insanity. The man seemed to be normal, except for the fact that he liked to kill. The judge in the case entered a originally entered a plea of "not guilty" on Rader's behalf, but three months later Rader changed the plea to guilty on all ten counts of murder. He produced a series of tapes that stunned the court and detailed what he had done to each victim. In court, he recited what he had done to each victim with a lack of emotion that horrified trial watchers.

Rader called the victims "projects" and talked about putting them "down," as if they were a stray animal. He admitted preplanning the murders and described murder "kits" that he brought along. By winning the victims' trust and pretending to be a private investigator, a housing inspector, or something similar, Rader would get them to open the door. Once through the door, he would bind them, torture them, and eventually kill them. Sometimes the victims lost consciousness during the process and he revived them. Afterwards, Rader would walk right back into his every-day life, without looking back. His one concern about the killings was that he never got the notoriety from them that he thought he deserved. BTK received a sentence of 10 life sentences, with parole possible after 175 years. He is still incarcerated in El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas, where he will likely remain for the rest of his life.

Lessons for the Future

BTK is unlike most serial killers. Investigators were unable to discover the usual signs of psychopathy in his childhood, and no one had anything bad to report about him. Like John Wayne Gacy, the Killer Clown, Dennis Rader led a double life right up till the time he was arrested and tried.


Btk, Killers, Murders, Serial Killers

Meet the author

author avatar Anita T
Anita T is a writer/researcher who is fascinated by alternatives to organized medicine and by the reasons for crime and criminality. Just about any topic can catch her attention!

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