8/19/2005

Boy Scouts: Gays=No, Serial Killers=Yes

A former church congregation president and Boy Scout leader, Rader is to arrive Friday at the El Dorado prison to begin serving a minimum of 175 years without a chance of parole. The sentence was the longest that Judge Gregory Waller could order him to serve Thursday; Kansas had no death penalty at the time of the murders.

Although the two-day sentencing hearing was a formality — the man who called himself BTK for "bind, torture and kill" was virtually guaranteed a life sentence — it allowed family members to confront Rader for the first time in court. It also included a rambling, sometimes-tearful statement from the killer, who apologized to his victims.

"A dark side is there, but now I think light is beginning to shine," Rader said, his voice choking at times. "Hopefully someday God will accept me."

Rader, 60, went through the list of his 10 victims one by one, drawing comparisons between him and them. He talked about victims who liked dogs when they were kids — just like him. He talked about how one of his child victims reminded him of his kids. He talked about how one victim went to his high school, albeit at a different time.

"I know the victims' families will never be able to forgive me. I hope somewhere deep down, eventually that will happen," he said.

Some family members walked out of court during Rader's half hour of testimony. [One of them] Jeff Davis called his speech a "pathetic, rambling diatribe."

"It's beyond comprehension. It was that pathetic," he said at a news conference with other family members. "He just nauseates me. I just want them to put the cockroach away."

Rader's taunting killing spree started in 1974 and ended in 1991. BTK resurfaced in 2004 after years of silence with a letter to The Wichita Eagle that included photos of a 1986 strangling victim and a photocopy of her missing driver's license.

That letter was followed by several other cryptic messages and packages. The break in the case came earlier this year after a computer diskette the killer had sent was traced to Rader's church, where he once served as president.

The sentencing hearing included graphic testimony from detectives who outlined Rader's crimes in grisly detail.

Capt. Sam Houston of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office testified about Rader's last known killing — the strangulation of 63-year-old Dolores Davis in 1991. Rader, who handcuffed Davis and tied her with pantyhose, told police it took two or three minutes for her to die, and that fueled his torturous fantasies for years.

"It was this moment that victim was tied and bound," Rader wrote in a journal, according to testimony Thursday by Houston. "He could live in that moment for years."

Investigators also testified that Rader kept hundreds of pictures from magazines and circulars mounted on index cards, with details of the warped sexual fantasies he dreamed of carrying out.


Victims' Relatives Confront Serial Killer - Yahoo! News

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