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Notorious Criminal Case. DENNIS RADER “BTK KILLER”. By: Dylan Walsh. Introduction .

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notorious criminal case

Notorious CriminalCase



By: Dylan Walsh

  • The case of Dennis Rader was between 1974 and 2005 when he was finally arrested. Between 1974 and 1991 Rader had killed 10 known people in Wichita Kansas. His method of torture and how he received his name was ‘Bind, Torture, and Kill’ (BTK).
  • I chose this case because its interesting how he went so long without being caught for his murders. He sent the police letters and performed a few murders in day lite and still never was caught. Finally he gave the police a clue to have him arrested so that his story could be told correctly.
  • This case is significant to the study of law because it shows that there is always a way of figuring out who committed the crime even if it seems like its impossible. Also, that normal people in your community could be mentally insecure and do things that you would never think of them to do.
  • Dennis Rader began his murders in 1974, he killed 10 people of scattered ages over the course of 18 years. He was known for researching his victims and planning out his ‘attacks’, he would figure out the best time to make his move. When Rader murdered, he would tie them up (bind), torture the victims, and then kill them. He was known for strangling them with his hands or different objects and leaving them tied up. After each murder he would write a letter to the police and to the news stations describing what he did to the victims so that they would know and so that he would be recognized. He was never caught after any murders or after any letters were written.
  • It wasn’t until 2005 that he sent an envelope with a letter and a blank floppy disk to the police, and on this they found a deleted file. This deleted file had information about the church in the area and was signed by “Dennis”. The police went to the church and checked the database for a “Dennis” and Dennis Rader came up. They kept an eye on Rader for awhile before they had evidence to arrest him.
  • The police then got a warrant for medical records of Rader’s daughter which had a DNA match to semen collected at one of the murders. They were then able to arrest Rader and while having him in custody Rader talked to the police for 31 hours discussing what he did and how he did it - all was recorded on film. A book was released about the BTK Killer and Rader wanted the opportunity to tell his story the right way.
  • Wichita Kansas was where he lived and where all the murders happened.
  • Joseph Otero – Male – 38 – Jan 15, 1974 – suffocated – Plastic Bag
  • Julie Otero – Female – 34 – Jan 15, 1974 – strangled – Rope
  • Joseph Otero JR. – Male – 9 - Jan 15, 1974 – suffocated – Plastic Bag
  • Josephine Otero – Female – 11 – Jan 15, 1974 – Hanged – Rope
  • Kathryn Bright – Female – 21 – April 4, 1974 – stabbed – Knife
  • Shirley Vian – Female – 24 – March 17 1977 – strangled – Rope
  • Nancy Fox – Female – 25 – December 8, 1977- strangled – Belt
  • Marine Hedge – Female – 53 – April 27, 1985 – strangled – Hands
  • Vicki Wegerle – Female – 28 – September 16, 1986 – strangled – Nylons
  • Dolores E. Davis – Female – 62 – January 19, 1991 – strangled – Pantyhose
  • As seen above he began in 1974 and finished in 1991.
  • From 1991-2005 he was out of trouble, raising his family.
  • He sent letters to the police after all the murders explaining what he had done and how he killed each person.
  • He left semen at his first crime and the police were able to match it to his daughters DNA therefore giving them enough evidence to arrest him.
  • The Evidence had a lot of strength at the trial because he confessed on video so therefore he technically turned himself in.
defense presented evidence summary
Defense Presented/Evidence Summary
  • Due to Rader confessing on tape there was not much of a trial or a defense at all. He confessed to everything and explained exactly how it happened.
  • Therefore the evidence that they had was 31 hours of confession on film, his DNA match from a murder, and Nylons from one of the murders were found at his house.
jury decision sentence
Jury Decision & Sentence
  • The death penalty was reinstated in Kansas in 1994, but his last known murder was 1991 so the death penalty could not apply.
  • Rader was charged for 10 accounts of first degree murder.
  • His earliest possible release is 175 years from the day he was convicted. February 26, 2180.
  • He is held at El Dorado Correctional Facility, he is in solitary confinement for 23 hours of his day.
  • Due to good behaviour he has the rights of TV, Radio, and Magazines.
  • The big part of this case was why Rader committed these murders. He had a family and a job, it didn’t add up for him to murder all of these people.
  • Rader stated in his first letter to the police after his first murder that there was a monster in him and that he couldn’t control when the monster comes or whether it comes or not. He stated that the monster had already picked its next victims.
  • To me this sounds like a mental disorder, that something in Rader’s head switches and he gets rage of some sort. This deals with Neurological Theory.
  • Rader also talked as if he was bored at the time, so maybe he didn’t know what to do with his life and from movies he had gained interest in murdering.
  • Its weird for a man with a job and a wife to want to commit these crimes but in Rader's head this could have been a hobby for him.
  • It could have also been from him newly being married that he was stressed in his new environment with having to support more than just himself. Therefore relating to the Strain Theory. This theories is based on stress in lives that make you want to escape. This may have been Rader’s way of escape.
  • There is also the Trait theory, that this is a mental trait of Dennis Rader. At some point in his like he gained this trait or he was possibly born with it.
  • Its possible that he gained this trait threw interest which is popular in the minds of serial killers.
work cited
Work Cited