Man pleads guilty as infamous BTK killer
Dennis Rader is responsible for a series of murders in Wichita over 31 years.
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
WICHITA, Kan. -- Dennis Rader pleaded guilty Monday to being to being the notorious BTK serial killer.
In an extraordinary hearing, Rader said he killed because he wanted to fulfill sexual fantasies. He described the killings in detail in a voice devoid of emotion.
He started by telling how he killed four members of the Otero family. After cutting the phone lines at the house, he nearly lost his nerve and left, he said, but "the door opened, and I was in."
Thirty minutes into the hearing, he was still describing how he murdered the Oteros -- two adults and two children.
In a matter-of-fact way throughout the proceeding, he talked of struggling with frantic victims, strangling them and photographing their bodies.
He said he had "hit kits" to help him commit the crimes; in at least one case he carried supplies in a bowling bag.
He also wore "hit clothes" -- items of clothing he could dispose of when he was done with the crime.
Rader said he at times tried to comfort his victims in the midst of their murders.
After victim Shirley Vian Relford threw up, he gave her a glass of water and tried to calm her.
At times he left with items, such as a car, jewelry or watch.
He said he chose Vian Relford at random.
Objects of study
Others were "projects" -- people he chose and watched, learning more about them so he would feel more comfortable, Rader said.
"If one didn't work out, I just moved to another one," he said.
He did this with Marine Hedge, who lived down the street from him, he said.
At times, Rader posed as a telephone repairman or a criminal on the run needing a getaway car.
He studied people.
He learned where victim Nancy Fox worked.
Before killing Marine Hedge, he waited about an hour for a man visiting her home to leave before strangling her with his hands as opposed to cords, as he had used in other murders.
His "sexual fantasy" continued, Rader said.
He stripped her body and transported her to the parking lot of the old Christ Lutheran Church, where he took Polaroid photos of her in different bondage positions, he said.
"The police probably have them," Rader said.
He said he heard piano music streaming from Vicki Wegerle's home when he arrived to kill her.
Monday's events gave Wichita residents some of the answers they have been seeking for 31 years.
The family of the victims gathered earlier Monday morning at the courthouse, as well as media from across the nation and overseas, who had set up tents on the courthouse's front lawn.
The killer nicknamed himself BTK for "bind, torture and kill" in a series of letters and rambling poems sent to the public and police, beginning in 1974 and ending in February with Rader's arrest.
Rader wore a bulletproof vest under a light-colored suit. He appeared relaxed, occasionally smiling and swishing water in his mouth.
As Rader listened to each charge, he answered that he understood each accusations by saying, "Yes, your honor," or "Yes, sir."
Rader hung his head for a moment at times while Sedgwick County District Judge Greg Waller read charges, including the names of the victims and the dates of their deaths.