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Episode 7: BTK Court Confession

Dennis Rader, better known as the BTK (bind, torture, kill) serial killer, stalked and murdered ten people in Kansas, wrote taunting letters to the police and newspapers, and collected items from each murder scene. He was married with children, a member of Christ Lutheran Church, a cub scout leader, and had been elected president of the church council. In this recording from his trial on June 27 2005, Rader described his murders in detail and offers no apology. In January 1974, he killed a family of four; in April 1974 he killed a 21-year old woman. Two more women were killed in 1977. There were no further killings for eight years, then one in 1985, another in 1986, and a third in 1991, all women between the ages of 24 and 62.

As in the Bundy confession, Rader’s description of his crimes is notable for the speaker’s flat affect, emotionless tone, and the way he glosses over the most important details of the crimes (emphasizing how he made his victims comfortable, brought them water or cushions before “putting them down”) yet has a semi-autistic memory for insignificant details–numbers of houses, the places he parked his car). He also uses a lot of police report terminology and often explains the way “serial killers” think, and the stages of their operation, as if he were describing  someone other than himself. Listen for his mispronunciation of “ruse” as “russ,” which he quickly corrects, and the judge’s confusion between “trolling” and “patrolling.”

Listen to the confession here.