Dennis Rader

BTK- Bind, Torture, Kill

Dennis Lynn Rader (born March 9, 1945) is an American serial killer who murdered ten people in Sedgwick County (in and around Wichita, Kansas), between 1974 and 1991. He is known as the BTK killer (or the BTK strangler). "BTK" stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill", which was his infamous signature. He sent letters describing the details of the killings to police and local news outlets during the time period in which the murders took place. After a long hiatus in the 1990s through early 2000s, Rader resumed sending letters in 2004, leading to his 2005 arrest and subsequent conviction. He is currently serving 10 consecutive life sentences at El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas. Dennis Rader is the oldest of four sons, born to Dorothea Mae Rader (née Cook) and William Elvin Rader. Though born in Pittsburg, Kansas, he grew up in Wichita. According to several reports, including his own confessions, as a child he tortured animals. He also harbored a sexual fetish for women's underwear and would later steal underpants from his victims and wear them himself. Rader spent four years (1966–1970) in the United States Air Force.[3] Upon discharge, he moved to Park City, a suburb located seven miles north of Wichita. He worked for a time in the meat department of Leekers IGA supermarket in Park City alongside his mother, a bookkeeper for the store.[4]

Rader attended Butler County Community College in El Dorado, earning an associate degree in electronics in 1973.[5] He then enrolled at Wichita State University and graduated in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in administration of justice. He married Paula Dietz on May 22, 1971, and they had two children.[6][7]

Rader worked as an assembler for Coleman Company, an outdoor supply company, and then, from 1974 until 1988, worked at the Wichita-based office of ADT Security Services, a home security company. He installed security alarms as a part of his job; many of his clients booked the company to stop BTK from entering their homes, unaware that BTK himself was installing them. Rader was a census field operations supervisor for the Wichita area in 1989, prior to the 1990 federal census. He then became a dogcatcher and compliance officer in Park City. In this position, neighbors recalled him as being sometimes overzealous and extremely strict; one neighbor complained that he euthanized her dog for no reason. On March 2, 2005, the Park City council terminated Rader's employment for failure to report to work or to call in. He had been arrested for the murders five days earlier.

Rader was a member of Christ Lutheran Church and had been elected president of the church council. He was also a Cub Scout leader. Rader was stopped while driving near his home in Park City and taken into custody shortly after noon on February 25, 2005.On February 28, 2005, Rader was formally charged with 10 counts of first degree murder, and on July 26, 2005, after Rader's arrest, Sedgwick County District Judge Eric Yost waived the usual 60-day waiting period and granted an immediate divorce for his wife, agreeing that her mental health was in danger. Rader did not contest the divorce, and the 34-year marriage was ended. Paula Rader said in her divorce petition that her mental and physical condition had been adversely affected by the marriage.

Rader made his first court appearance via video conference on March 1, 2005, from jail. District Judge Greg Waller Tuesday set his bail at $10 million and appointed a public defender to represent him at a preliminary hearing on March 15. On May 3, Waller entered "not guilty" pleas to the 10 charges on Rader's behalf, as Rader did not speak at his arraignment. On June 27, the scheduled trial date, Rader changed his plea to "guilty". He described the murders in detail and made no apologies.

He faced sentencing on August 18, 2005. Victims' families made statements and were followed by Rader, who apologized for his crimes. He was sentenced to serve 10 consecutive life sentences, one life sentence per murder victim. In total, Rader would be eligible for parole after 175 years of imprisonment, in 2180. Because Kansas had no death penalty at the time the murders were committed, life imprisonment was the maximum penalty allowed by law.

On August 19, Rader was moved from the Sedgwick County Jail to the El Dorado Correctional Facility to begin serving his consecutive life sentences. His earliest possible release date is February 26, 2180.


All of Rader's known crimes occurred within the state of Kansas. He killed ten people in total and collected items from each murder scene. He also intended to kill others, notably Anna Williams, 63, who in 1979 escaped death by returning home much later than he expected. Rader explained during his confession that he had become obsessed with Williams and was "absolutely livid" when she evaded him. Rader spent hours waiting in her home but became impatient and left when she did not return home from visiting friends. Two of the women Rader had stalked in the 1980s and one he had stalked in the mid-1990s filed restraining orders against him; one of them also moved away.

Rader admitted in his interrogation that he had been planning to kill again. He had set a date, October 2004, and was stalking his intended victim.

Name.................... Sex..... Age........ Weapon Used

Joseph Otero......... M....... 38.......... Plastic Bag

Julie Otero.............. F........ 33.......... Strangled

Joseph Otero, Jr..... M........ 9........... Suffocated

Josephine Otero ....F........ 11.......... Hanged from a drainage pipe

Kathryn Bright....... M....... 21.......... Stabbed once in back and lower abdomen

Shirley Vian............ F........ 24...........Strangled

Nancy Fox.............. F........ 25 ...........Strangled

Marine Hedge....... M....... 53 ...........Strangled

Vicki Wegerle......... F........ 28 ...........Strangled

Dolores E. Davis.... F........ 62 ...........Strangled