- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Shows little emotion as torture methods described

WICHITA, Kan. (Reuters) — Confessed serial killer Dennis Rader worked out to build up his strength because he found killing people physically hard, law-enforcement agents told his sentencing hearing yesterday.

The 60-year-old Rader — who called himself BTK, for “bind, torture and kill” — showed little emotion on the first day of the hearing.

But relatives of those he killed sobbed and hung their heads as they listened to how Rader stalked and slowly killed his victims, largely for sexual gratification, in a 17-year period.

The testimony included photos of many of the bodies.

The agents told the courtroom that shortly after his arrest in February, Rader confessed to 10 murders, telling them that in one killing, he used toys to try to distract three small children as he bound and strangled their mother.

In another, he pulled a chair next to a bed so he could relax while a 9-year-old boy suffocated in the plastic bag that Rader wrapped around his head. In yet another, he took his victim one night to a church, where he photographed her in various sexually explicit ways.

Rader had told law-enforcement agents that he found killing people was harder work than he had expected so, as he continued killing, he worked out to increase his strength.

His first victims were four members of the Otero family, whom he killed in their Wichita-area home in 1974. Rader said he went after the Oteros because he was attracted to the Hispanic features of 11-year-old Josephine.

He killed her parents and younger brother while Josephine wept and called for her mother. Then he led the girl to the basement, telling her she would soon join her family in heaven, and sexually abused and hanged her, Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent Larry Thomas testified.

Throughout the testimony, the bespectacled, balding Rader was largely expressionless, absently scratching his forehead or resting his chin on his palm.

Victims’ relatives were expected to testify during the sentencing hearing, which could last three days, Sedgwick County District Court officials said.

Rader could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. He will not be executed because Kansas did not reinstate the death penalty until after his crimes, which occurred between 1974 and 1991 and spread a wave of terror through the Wichita area.

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