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The B.T.K. Killer Speaks

Updated: Nov 23

(Presented by A & E, available here: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2fkdl2?fbclid=IwAR1ua8oTQ3X9vVrzjttunZGlAHrMbHqVPnPg5LNQ9sefCItEutK5IauhbpI )

FTC Rating: 3 out of 5


Narrated by Bill Kurtis, this short-format television documentary discusses the crimes and capture of convinced serial killer, Dennis Rader. The self-proclaimed B.T.K killer ("bind, torture, kill") terrorized Wichita, Kansas between 1974-1991, claiming the lives of ten individuals. Although short, the documentary provides a unique insight into the mind of a killer disguised as a model citizen, loving husband, and father.


Strengths:

-Features excerpts of Dennis Rader’s monologue during sentencing

-Includes interviews with psychologists and an FBI profiler to explain why Rader committed these horrific crimes

-First hand account of the Bright murder by survivor Kevin Bright

-Testimonies from potential targets describing their interactions with Dennis Rader

-Tells of the letters, clues, and calls B.T.K. placed to police/the news which ultimately resulted in his arrest and conviction


Weaknesses:

-Speculates about Rader’s upbringing as the cause of his behaviour but doesn’t provide any concrete examples

-The documentary does not provide any background on the victims, the focus is primarily on their deaths

-Does not include any trial footage with the exception of sentencing


Final Thought: This case always fascinated me because I could not reconcile the imagine of this family man with that of sadistic killer. Rader’s daughter has spoken openly about her father but I often think of his wife Paula and the lasting effects of such a betrayal on a person. How does one learn to trust again?

Addendum: Dennis Rader received 10 consecutive life terms with no chance of parole for 175 years

Picture source: https://www.aetv.com/


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