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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Hard 40 for Dennis Rader the Wichita BTK Serial Killer

Dennis L. Rader, the 60-year-old confessed BTK serial killer was sentenced by Judge Greg Waller to a total of 175 years, to be served consecutively on Thursday, August 18, 2005. Specifically, Judge Waller sentenced Rader to nine life terms, each without the possibility for parole for 15 years, and gave him one hard 40 life sentence — 40 years in prison with no chance of parole for the Dee Davis murder. It was the longest sentence the Sedgwick County District Judge could impose. Rader terrorized Wichita, Kansas by killing ten people between January 15, 1974 and January 19, 1991.

On August 19, 2005, Rader arrived at the El Dorado state prison to spend the rest of his life isolated from the world he terrorized for 31 years. Neither Rader's wife nor his children appeared at any of Rader's court appearances or visited him in jail.

The families of the victims have been filing wrongful death suits against Rader. They seek to prevent him from profiting in any way from his crimes. Unfortunately, this will give Rader another chance to be in the spotlight. He is representing himself in the wrongful death lawsuits. The civil trial(s) will probably be broadcast in Wichita, it's also likely that Court TV will televise portions of it. He's not expected to be allowed to leave prison to attend the court proceedings. But he will likely be on a video feed to the courthouse. It is too bad that Rader will get more time in front of the TV cameras.

More details about his killing rampage were revealed this past week:

Once, years ago, Paula Rader, the wife of Dennis Rader, became scared when she found a draft of a disturbing poem in their home. It was about Shirley Vian Relford, a young mother strangled in 1977.

And right before her husband's arrest this past February, she told him he spelled "just like BTK."

That's part of what Rader told investigators about his wife after they arrested him, according to a 92-page court document filed by prosecutors Thursday. It details Rader's crimes and interviews with investigators after his arrest.

But authorities said Friday that there's no indication Paula Rader knew her husband was BTK.

Rader's wife found BTK poem [Wichita Eagle, Aug 20, 2005]

Perhaps, if the Wichita Police had been more forthcoming and fully released all of the BTK communiques decades ago Rader's poor writing, spelling, and grammar would have helped identity him as the BTK Strangler.

For example, the police in Tampa Florida caught serial rapist and killer, Oba Chander, in 1992 when then they ran a billboard campaign with his handwritten notes. Wichita did not run any formal campaign to ask for the public's help in identifying BTK through his many letters.

Rader used his son's scouting trip in January 1991 as cover for the murder of his final victim, Dolores 'Dee' Davis. He left the camp out claiming he had to go home to get something.
he parked his car at the Baptist church at 61st Street North near his Park City home.

"I had a key to that, because that's where the Scouts hung out," Rader confessed to Lee.

Inside the Baptist church, Rader dressed in a dark outfit and put together his "hit kit" -- the bag of tape and cords.

Rader walked nearly two miles across a field and a cemetery to get to Davis' house. She lived in a secluded place, so he heaved a brick through the window of her door after she went to bed.

Rader also stated that his family or "social contacts" limited his ability to do more serial killings. He was also planning an 11th killing this year:
When police arrested Rader in February, it interrupted his scheme to carry out an 11th murder in a 31-year pursuit that he would say took precedence over his family, his church and every other aspect of his life.

"He was a serial killer every minute of every moment of every day,"
O'Connor said outside the courthouse. "He wasn't a father and church leader or Scout leader: those were facades."

Rader called his family "social contacts," and complained they held him back and kept him from killing more people.

"My big problem was my social contacts," Rader told police. "If I was a lone wolf, you have had many more victims. Many more, I guarantee that. Many more.

"When you live at home with a wife, you can't go out and prowl around till 3 or 4 in the morning without your wife being suspicious," Rader continued. "So I had to connect this all with school and work and family life. It was difficult, but that's the way I did it: kind of like a spy."

A meticulous record-keeper, Rader had neat notebooks containing pictures and descriptions of his 10 murders. They were kept at his Park City Hall office. He had planned on putting all of the information on computer files and putting them in a safe-deposit box under an assumed name and leaving it for someone to find after his death.

As a footnote, the release of Dennis Rader's interview with psychologist, Robert Mendoza, to NBC Dateline is still under investigation. Mendoza, a member of Cambridge Forensic Consultants, denies he gave the BTK interview tape to NBC. The two hour "Dateline NBC" special, which aired Friday, Aug. 12, 2005, was built around the interview, in which Rader described in a matter-of-fact manner how he committed each of his 10 murders. NBC officials refused to say how they obtained the tape. Interestingly, Omarosa's Productions, a company run by Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, the former contestant who liked to sabotage her colleagues on the NBC reality show "The Apprentice," taped the Dennis Rader interview. So far Omarosa has not been available for comment.

Families want control of Rader's belongings [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 20, 2005]
Rader's statement at sentencing [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 20, 2005]
BTK sentenced to 10 life terms; families have their say [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 19, 2005]
Excerpts of family members' comments (at sentencing) [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 19, 2005]
Rader arrives at El Dorado prison in chains [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 19, 2005]
Full Transcripts from two days of testimony [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 19, 2005]
Litany of horror [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 18, 2005]
BTK serial killer gets 10 life sentences [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 18, 2005]
BTK tape dispute involves Omarosa [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 18, 2005]
Mendoza denies he gave BTK interview tape to NBC [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 16, 2005]
How did NBC get Rader tape? [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 12, 2005]
'Dateline NBC' to air Dennis Rader interview [Wichita Eagle, Aug. 10, 2005]
Rader asks to be his own lawyer [Wichita Eagle, July 29, 2005]

related TJN links:
Dennis L. Rader Confesses to BTK Murders [Jun. 28, 2005]
Profiling is Junk Science [Mar. 7, 2005]
Dennis L. Rader arrested as Wichita BTK Serial Killer (Dennis Rader's biography) [Feb. 26, 2005]
Beginning of the end: Did they finally catch BTK? [Feb. 25, 2005]
BTK (Bind, Torture, & Kill) Strangler Info

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