WICHITA, Kan. – Confessed BTK serial killer Dennis Rader (search) chose his first victims because he was attracted to an 11-year-old girl in the family, and he told authorities about a chilling conversation he had with her before she died, agents testified Wednesday.
As the sentencing hearing for Rader started, Kansas Bureau of Investigation (search) special agent Larry Thomas testified that after Rader killed Josephine Otero's parents and brother, he took the girl to the basement. Prosecutors projected to a screen Rader's recollection of the exchange he had with Josephine before he killed her.
"What's going to happen to me?" she asks.
Rader: "Well, honey, you're going to be in heaven with the rest of your family."
Rader then hanged the girl and masturbated over her body.
Wearing a dark suit and occasionally taking notes on a legal pad, Rader looked on as KBI special agent Raymond Lundin said the killer told authorities in an interview after his Feb. 25 arrest that he targeted Josephine because he was attracted to Hispanics.
"He said that he has always been attracted to Hispanic looking people — dark eyes, dark hair, dark skin. He said Josey was the one who caught his eye and she was his target," Lundin said, noting that Rader also told him he was attracted to "younger women."
"I don't know how you call an 11-year-old a younger woman," Lundin said.
Josephine; her father, Joseph, 38; her mother, Julie, 34; and her brother Joseph II, 9, were strangled in their home in January 1974. Lundin said Rader told authorities he didn't think the males would be home.
The three remaining Otero children, who had came home from school that day to find their parents and siblings dead, were in the courtroom. Brothers Charlie and Danny had their arms crossed through much of the testimony, and sister Carmen clutched an afghan blanket. When prosecutors showed the crime scene photo of Josephine, Charlie Otero began crying and buried his head on his lap.
Rader looked away briefly when some of the photos were shown.
Rader, a 60-year-old former church congregation president and Boy Scout leader, pleaded guilty in June to the slayings of the Oteros and six other people between 1974 and 1991. The slayings terrorize the Wichita area until Rader was arrested in February.
Prosecutors want Rader to get the longest possible sentence — a minimum of 175 years without a chance of parole. The state had no death penalty at the time the killings were committed.
Rader told KAKE-TV — the Wichita station with which he had often communicated as "BTK" since the 1970s — that he was working on an emotional statement for his sentencing.
The hearing, which was expected to extend into Thursday, also was expected to include statements from relatives on their loss and pain.
In his confession, Rader — whose moniker stood for "Bind, Torture, Kill" — said sexual fantasies drove him to commit the killings, which he referred to as his "projects." Days after the confession, Rader called KAKE from prison and told them he had picked out an 11th victim before he was caught.
With the criminal case winding up, Rader now faces lawsuits from the families of his victims seeking to keep him from profiting from his crimes. Rader's ex-wife, Paula, has filed a petition to intervene in those cases, primarily to protect proceeds from the sale of their home.