EL DORADO, Kan. – BTK killer Dennis Rader (search) arrived at the maximum security prison here Friday to begin serving the rest of his life in prison for 10 killings that terrorized nearby Wichita.
Rader, who was wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, entered the prison doors at 7:28 a.m., after arriving in three-vehicle caravan with seven state troopers. He was sentenced to 10 consecutive life terms Thursday after a hearing where family members spoke of their grief and loss.
He is to be fingerprinted and photographed and then undergo an initial screening to determine whether he will serve his entire sentence in El Dorado or be transferred to another facility.
"Public safety is our primary mission," said Ray Roberts, warden of the El Dorado Correctional Facility (search).
There was little drama upon his arrival, save for the hordes of media gathered outside the prison gates. A helicopter hovered overhead.
Rader, at least initially, will be locked down 23 hours a day, allowed out of his cell only to shower and exercise.
District Judge Gregory Waller handed Rader a sentence Thursday that was the stiffest possible; Kansas had no death penalty at the times of the murders. The sentence offers no chance of parole for 175 years.
Although the two-day sentencing hearing was a formality — the man who called himself BTK for "bind, torture and kill" was virtually guaranteed a life sentence — it allowed family members to confront Rader for the first time in court.
"I can think of nothing but savoring the bittersweet taste of revenge as justice is served upon this social sewage here before us today," said Jeff Davis, whose mother, Dolores Davis (search), was strangled by Rader.
Beverly Plapp, sister of victim Nancy Fox (search), said Rader should "never, ever see the light of day ... On the day he dies, Nancy and all of his victims will be waiting with God and watching him as he burns in hell."
It also included a rambling, sometimes-tearful statement from the killer, who apologized to his victims.
"A dark side is there, but now I think light is beginning to shine," Rader said, his voice choking at times. "Hopefully someday God will accept me."
Rader, 60, went through the list of his 10 victims one by one, drawing comparisons between him and them.
He talked about victims who liked dogs when they were kids — just like him. He talked about how one of his child victims reminded him of his kids. He talked about how one victim went to his high school, although at a different time.
"I know the victims' families will never be able to forgive me. I hope somewhere deep down, eventually that will happen," he said.
Some family members walked out of court during Rader's half hour of testimony. Jeff Davis called his speech a "pathetic, rambling diatribe."
"It's beyond comprehension. It was that pathetic," he said at a news conference with other family members. "He just nauseates me. I just want them to put the cockroach away."
Rader's taunting killing spree started in 1974 and ended in 1991. BTK resurfaced in 2004 after years of silence with a letter to The Wichita Eagle that included photos of a 1986 strangling victim and a photocopy of her missing driver's license.
That letter was followed by several other cryptic messages and packages. The break in the case came earlier this year after a computer diskette the killer had sent was traced to Rader's church, where he once served as president.
The sentencing hearing included graphic testimony from detectives who outlined Rader's crimes in grisly detail.
Capt. Sam Houston of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office (search) testified about Rader's last known killing — the strangulation of 63-year-old Dolores Davis in 1991.
Rader, who handcuffed Davis and tied her with pantyhose, told police it took two or three minutes for her to die, and that fueled his torturous fantasies for years.
Investigators also testified that Rader kept hundreds of pictures from magazines and circulars mounted on index cards, with details of the warped sexual fantasies he dreamed of carrying out.
Prosecutors asked the judge at sentencing to recommend Rader be barred from seeing or listening to news reports regarding his murders, prohibited from possessing anything with which he could draw or write about his sexual fantasies, and disallowed from making audio or visual recordings other than for law enforcement purposes.
The prosecution request surprised defense attorneys, who said they have not had time to research the issue.
Waller plans a hearing in about a month to decide the issue.