Rader pleads guilty to BTK killings

WICHITA (AP) — The man suspected of being the BTK strangler has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder.

Dennis Rader, 60, of Park City, entered the guilty pleas as his trial was scheduled to begin Monday.

Prosecutors said before the hearing that no plea deal made.

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Rader admitted killing 10 people in the Wichita area between 1974 and 1991. The serial killer known as BTK — the self-coined nickname that stands for “Bind, Torture, Kill” — taunted media and police with cryptic messages that became increasingly frequent in the months before Rader’s arrest on Feb. 25.

Rader will not face the death penalty because all the crimes he is charged with were committed before the state adopted capital punishment.

The earliest crimes linked to the BTK strangler date to Jan. 15, 1974, when Joseph Otero, 38, and his 34-year-old wife, Julie, were found strangled in their home. Also killed were their children, 11-year-old Josephine and 9-year-old Joseph.

BTK’s next three victims were young women found strangled in their homes: Kathryn Bright, 21, on April 4, 1974; Shirley Vian, 24, on March 17, 1977; and Nancy Fox, 25, on Dec. 8, 1977.

Police did not connect the Sept. 16, 1986, strangulation death of Vicki Wegerle to BTK until the killer resurfaced last year with a letter to The Wichita Eagle that included photos of the crime and a photocopy of her missing driver’s license.

Rader, the president of the church council at Christ Lutheran Church and a former Boys Scout leader, also is charged with the killings of Marine Hedge, 53, who was abducted from her Park City home on April 27, 1985, and found dead along a dirt road eight days later, and Davis. Those deaths were not linked to BTK until Rader’s arrest.

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June 27, 2005
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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday June 27, 2005.
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