Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The BTK Story

Exercising Power and Control

Tuesday, Mar. 03 7:50 a.m. update

Rader was a Compliance Supervisor in Park City
Rader was a Compliance Supervisor in Park City

In most cases, serial killers are primarily motivated by the need for power and control. Rader was no different and often flaunted his self-perceived supremacy in his work and in everyday activities. At the time of Rader's arrest, he was employed by Park City as a compliance supervisor, which involved "animal control, inoperable vehicles, general code compliance and nuisances." However, if there was anyone a nuisance, Rader's neighbors claimed it was he.

Fox News said that Rader was often referred to as a "bureaucratic bully" who would go "out of his way to find reasons to give people citations." It was further reported that he would go around filming his neighbors in the hopes of catching them committing some minor transgression. He even measured the grass of one woman he disliked, in order to catch her in violation of a city ordinance.

According to Fred Mann and Les Anderson's article in the Wichita Eagle, two Park City residents, Sarah Gordon and her sister Hearther Herrera, had a "run-in" with Rader at their garage sale in the summer of 2004 because they didn't have a license for it. Rader reportedly told the women, "You don't want to mess with me. I'm nobody to mess with." He wasn't kidding. 

ABC News reported that Donna Barry, a neighbor of Rader's who has known him and his family since she was a child, had seen a darker side of Rader.

"Barry said she and her children were out on their front lawn one day, and a neighbor from across the street was outside with his dog. In his capacity as a dog catcher and ordinance officer, Barry said Rader approached the dog and allegedly tried to mace it.

"But, according to Barry, the 'wind blew the mace back in his face.' She says Rader groped for his tranquilizer gun, but couldn't get to it. That's when he allegedly pulled out a gun and shot the dog."

Other than the dog incident, "He was generally a really nice gentleman," she said. "I've known him since I was probably four or five years old. You know, he was the kind of neighbor that you could go down the road and he would stay up and talk to you and open the door for you and hold a conversation."

The Wichita Eagle reported that "several Park City residents and former co-workers described Rader as egotistical and arrogant -- a by-the-book person who pays attention to detail. The descriptions in many ways matched those offered by criminal profilers who have studied BTK. Charlie Otero, whose parents and sister were BTK's first known victims, believes that if Rader is BTK, he should get the death penalty.


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