'BTK' serial killer sentenced to 10 consecutive life terms

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The Independent US

The sentence - a minimum of 175 years without a chance of parole - was the longest possible that Judge Gregory Waller could deliver. Kansas had no death penalty at the time the killings were committed.

The two-day hearing featured graphic testimony from detectives and sobbing relatives. It culminated with rambling testimony from Rader, who said he had been dishonest to his family and victims and at times wiped his eyes.

"Nancy's death is a like a deep wound that will never, ever heal," Beverly Plapp, sister of victim Nancy Fox, testified. "As far as I'm concerned, Dennis Rader does not deserve to live. I want him to suffer as much as he made his victims suffer."

"This man needs to be thrown in a deep, dark hole and left to rot," she said. "He should never, ever see the light of day."

Rader offered Biblical quotes, thanks to police and an apology to victims' relatives before he was sentenced. Some family members walked out of court during Rader's speech, saying they did not want to give him the time of day.

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

Rader, 60, a former church congregation president and Boy Scout leader, led a double life, calling himself BTK for "bind, torture and kill." He was arrested in February and pleaded guilty in June to 10 murders from 1974 to 1991.

Family members of the victims talked about the hearing at a news conference afterward, saying that horror writer Stephen King couldn't have come up with more monstrous character than Rader. Jeff Davis, whose mother was strangled by Rader, called Rader's speech a "pathetic, rambling diatribe."

"It's beyond comprehension. It was that pathetic," he said. "He just nauseates me. I just want them to put the cockroach away."

Rader's voice choked as he made his half-hour address to the courtroom, saying he had been dishonest to his family and victims and selfish.

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

He also admitted he tracked his victims "like a predator."

Nola Foulston, Sedgwick County District Attorney, asked the judge that Rader be refused anything in prison, such as markers or crayons, that could be used to draw or write about human or animal forms, or anything that might be used to further his sexual fantasies.

Prosecutors earlier flashed a photograph of Rader wearing a mask, tied to a chair and donning a woman's blond wig. They also showed other pictures the killer took in which he had bound himself and was wearing a dress he had taken from a victim's house - apparently reliving the ecstasy of the murder.

Investigators 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.

Lt. Ken Landwehr, who coordinated the Wichita police department's investigation into BTK, said the index cards were some of the evidence of Rader's long history of terror that was found at the defendant's office, camper and small suburban home.

Landwehr said the cutouts ranged from a little girl posing in a swimsuit to actress Meg Ryan.

Rader's files also included copies of nearly all his messages to police and the media, documents Landwehr said the killer had planned to eventually scan and digitally store, Landwehr said.

Containers kept in a closet and elsewhere at his home also held what Rader called "hit kits" - bags with rubber gloves, rope, tape, handcuffs and bandanas.

Rader, sitting through his second day of a sentencing hearing, appeared angry and mumbled at one point during Landwehr's testimony, although Rader's words couldn't be heard.

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 morning by Houston. "He could live in that moment for years."

After Davis was dead, Rader tossed her body under a bridge where it decomposed and apparently was fed on by animals. The defendant returned later to take Polaroid photographs of her wearing a feminine mask Rader himself had worn for his own bondage fantasies.

The sentencing hearing was in many ways is a formality, with the only issue before the judge whether Rader would serve his life sentences consecutively or concurrently.

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