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Crime News Snapped

Why Dennis Rader’s Court Confession Was Compared To An ‘Academy Awards Acceptance Speech’

The BTK Killer unleashed all the chilling details of his murder spree.

By Sowmya Krishnamurthy

"I took her to the basement and ... hung her."

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When Dennis Rader admitted to being the BTK ("Bind, Torture, Kill") Killer, his confession was nearly as shocking as his crimes. The 60-year-old murderer appeared in front of Sedgwick County District Judge Greg Waller and admitted to being an elusive killer who terrorized the people of Wichita, Kansas, for decades. Beneath the veneer of a religious family man, he slayed 10 people beginning in 1974. He also tormented authorities and the media by sending chilling messages detailing his crimes 

When he gave his statement during sentencing, Jean Casarez of Court TV News likened it to an "Academy Awards acceptance speech," as CNN reported.

"Many of the members' families, they left the courtroom," she said.

"They weren't going to stick around to have the respect for Rader to hear what he had to say, but he kept going and going," Casarez continued. "I thought the judge would stop him, but he didn't. He allowed him to speak for as long as he wanted."

Oxygen's “Snapped: Notorious BTK Killer" goes inside the life of Rader, his capture and how he became one of the most notorious serial killers in US history. Before tuning in to the special on September 2 at 6/5c, hear the most shocking moments from his statement.

'I Took Her To The Basement And Eventually Hung Her'


The most shocking part of Rader's confession was his matter-of-fact tone. In January 1974, he killed four members of the Otero family, including 11-year-old Josephine. Rader coolly explained how he hung the girl from a basement pipe, as seen in a transcript from his statement shared by CNN.

"I took her to the basement and eventually hung her," he said. Then, he detailed how he became sexually aroused by the killing.

"Yes, I had some sexual fantasies. That was after she was hung," Rader told the court.

Right-Hand Rule

After Rader killed the Oteros, he explained how he cleaned up the crime scene and robbed the victims. He gave his system a name — the "right-hand rule."

He said, "I went through the house, kind of cleaned it up. It's called the right-hand rule; you go from room to room. I picked everything up. I think I took Mr. Otero's watch. I guess I took a radio. I had forgotten about that, but apparently I took radio."


Rader revealed he had a special name for his murders. He explained to the judge that they were his "projects." 

"Potential hits. In my world, that's what I called them. They were called projects, hits," said Rader.

In the event that a "project" didn't pan out, the killer just moved on to the next one. 

"So if just -- if one didn't work out, I just moved to another one," explained Rader.

Tools of Murder


Like a professional, Rader came to each crime scene prepared with weapons and tools. He used a briefcase to carry rope, cords and other items, calling it his "hit kit."

He said, "I had a briefcase. Whatever I had laying around, ropes, tape, cords. I threw that in there. You know, whatever that I had that I brought in the house. [...] I call them my hit kit."

'I'm Not Bragging'


While describing his murder of Kathryn Bright in April 1974, Rader said it was a fluke that Kevin Bright, Kathryn's brother, escaped his clutches. 

"But if I had brought my stuff and used my stuff, Kevin would probably be dead today. I'm not bragging on that. It's just a matter of fact," he said. "The bonds I tied him with, he broke them[.]"

Inside BTK's Mind


During his confession, Rader also explained exactly how the mind of a serial killer worked. 

"If you've read much about serial killers, they go through what they call different phases. In the trolling stage, basically, you're looking for a victim at that time. You can be trolling for months or years, but once you lock in on a certain person, you become a stalker," he said.

He then explained how the victim selection occurred: "There might be several of them, but you really hone in on one person. They basically become the [...] victim. Or, at least that's what you want it to be."

Final Bow

Instead of appearing remorseful, Rader's confession was dubbed outrageous. He shouted out the legal system and name-dropped multiple people, including Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston.

"I call it the Golden Globe awards. [...] He was giving out kudos to the jailers; he was giving it out to even law enforcement," said Foulston to CNN. "But you know what? He had criticism for me. I couldn't believe it. He didn't like my PowerPoint [presentations]. [He] kind of criticized them and thought they could be done a little bit better. That's the control freak in him."

To learn more about Rader's capture and court confession, watch “Snapped: Notorious BTK Serial Killer" on Sunday, September 2 at 6/5c.

[Photos: Getty Images] 

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