Dennis Rader, Born 1945
Rader is an American serial killer who murdered no less than 10 people in Sedgwick County (and around Wichita), Kansas, between 1974 and 1991. He was called the BTK killer (or BTK strangler), which stands for Bind, Torture and Kill, an apt explanation of his modus operandi. Letters were written right after the killings to police and also to local news sites, boasting of the actual crimes and knowledge of details. After an extended hiatus these letters resumed in 2004, leading to his arrest in 2005 as well as the subsequent conviction.
Using personal vocabulary for his killing equipment, Rader casually referred to his victims as his “projects” and at one point likened his murders to euthanizing animals by saying he “put all of them down. ” Rader developed what he called a “hit kit, ” a briefcase or bowling bag containing the things he would make use of during murders: guns, tape, rope and handcuffs. He also packed what he referred to as “hit clothes” he would wear for the crimes and then get rid of. Rader bound, tortured, and killed his victims. Rader would strangle his victims until these people lost consciousness, then let them revive, then strangle them again. He would do the pattern again and again, forcing them to have near-death experiences, becoming sexually aroused at the sight of their struggles. Finally, Rader would strangle them to death and masturbate till ejaculation into an article of their clothing, usually underwear.
Rader was especially known for mailing taunting letters to police and papers. There were a number of communications from BTK from 1974 to 1979. The first was a letter that had been stashed in an engineering book within the Wichita Public Library in October 1974 that described in depth the killing of the Otero family in January of the same year. In early 1978 he sent another letter to television station KAKE in Wichita claiming responsibility for the murders of the Oteros, Shirley Vian, Nancy Fox as well as another unidentified victim assumed to be Kathryn Bright. He suggested several possible names for himself, including the one which stuck: BTK
A sample of 1 of his text letters:
The victims are tie up-most have been women-phone cut- bring some bondage mater sadist tendencies-no struggle, outside the death spot-no wintness other than the Vain’s Children. They were really lucky; a phone call save them. I was go-ng to tape the boys and put plastics bag over there head like I did Joseph, and Shirley. And then hang the girl. God-oh God such a beautiful sexual relief that could have been. Josephine, when I hung her really turn me on; her pleading for mercy then the rope took whole, she helpless; staring at me with wide horror fill eyes the rope getting tighter-tighter.
Rader plead guilty and was sentenced to life in prison – a sentence he’s currently still serving.