View Full Version : BTK pleads Not Guilty

05-03-2005, 11:23 AM
Haven't seen this posted anywhere.

Not-Guilty Plea Entered for BTK Suspect

The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 3, 2005; 12:38 PM

WICHITA, Kan. -- A judge entered a plea of not guilty Tuesday for Dennis Rader, the former church leader and city employee who is charged with 10 counts of murder in the BTK serial killings that terrorized Wichita since the 1970s.

Rader chose to stand mute during the brief arraignment and asked District Court Judge Gregory Waller to enter the plea for him. Waller entered the not guilty plea and set a trial date for June 27, although most expect the trial date to eventually be pushed back.

Rader, 60, a former city compliance officer from suburban Park City, was arrested Feb. 25 and charged in 10 deaths linked to the serial killer known as BTK. The killer, whose nickname stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill," had taunted officials and the public with messages.

Prosecutors cannot seek the death penalty because the crimes were committed before 1994, when Kansas passed its capital punishment law.

"I look forward to a trial of this case because it is important for people to know ... to be able to say it is over," District Attorney Nola Foulston said after the hearing. A defense lawyer said an insanity defense was not likely.

In an unusual maneuver, Foulston had formally served papers to Rader during the hearing in the 1991 death of Dolores Davis, the most recent slaying attributed to BTK.

Foulston told Rader she would seek a so-called "hard 40" sentence in that case, 40 years without a chance of parole.

As Rader was being taken out of the courtroom, one victim relative was heard to say, "Don't worry, you won't last that long." About a dozen family members attended the hearing but left without making any comment.

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

BTK's next three known victims were young women found strangled in their homes: Kathryn Bright, 21, in April 1974; Shirley Vian, 24, in March 1977; and Nancy Fox, 25, in December 1977.

After years of silence, the killer resurfaced last year with a letter to The Wichita Eagle that included photos of the 1986 strangulation of Vicki Wegerle and a photocopy of her missing driver's license. Her case had not been linked to BTK until then.

That letter was followed by several other cryptic messages and packages. The break in the case came after a computer diskette the killer had sent was traced to Rader's church.

Rader also is charged with the killings of Marine Hedge, 53, in April 1985 and Davis, 62, in January 1991. Those deaths were linked to BTK after Rader's arrest.

After Tuesday's hearing, Foulston said Davis' death happened after Kansas law was changed to allow the "hard 40" sentence. The other nine deaths would allow a life sentence, but would permit parole after 15 years.

Public defender Steve Osburn said Rader's attorneys do not anticipate making Rader's mental competency a part of the defense. They may seek a change of venue, he said.

Prosecutors have listed 247 potential witnesses, and the public defender's office has said a trial is likely more than a year away. Rader last month waived his right to a preliminary hearing, meaning prosecutors will not have to reveal details of their case until trial.


Skip Towne
05-03-2005, 12:20 PM
Thanks. I hadn't seen this.