Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The BTK Story

Evil Personified

By Rachael Bell

During the second day of the sentencing proceedings, Capt. Sam Houston revealed more information concerning Rader's murder of Dolores Davis. According to testimony, Rader told Houston that while he tortured her he placed a thin painted plastic mask on her face to "pretty her up a little bit" and make her look "more feminine." The mask had been painted flesh tone with red lips and darkened eyebrows to make it look more lifelike in appearance. He was so wrapped up in his fantasy when he was torturing Davis that he ignored her pleas when she begged him to spare her life.

Rader admitted to Houston that after he killed Davis, he wore some of her clothes that he had stolen, along with a similar looking mask and a wig. When Rader dressed up as a woman, he posed himself in various bondage positions and took pictures of himself with a remote snap camera. In the pictures he appeared markedly distressed as if he were the actual victim. The pictures were used specifically to fuel his perverted fantasies and he kept them in a huge stash he referred to as "the mother load."  Most of Rader's stash was hidden in his house and office and included such items as binders with cut out pictures of models and starlets, such as Meg Ryan, index cards with child swimsuit models on them and sexual fantasies written on the backside, jewelry and clothing from his victims, newspaper clippings, a doll collection and his "hit kit," among other things, Buselt reported in The Wichita Eagle. None of his colleagues or his wife knew his hoard of pictures and other sexual paraphernalia ever existed.

Just when Houston's testimony about Rader couldn't get anymore shocking or bizarre, it did. He told the court that other photographs were found that included pictures Rader took of himself wearing a made-up mask and lying partially covered in a dug out grave that was initially intended for Davis. Davis was never buried there because Rader simply didn't have the time to do it. He claimed that at that time he was already late for a Boy Scout event. Instead of burying her he dumped Davis's body and the mask under the bridge and decided to revisit his "kill" the next day. When he did, he claimed that he was "creeped out" by the site of her body because animals had ravaged her remains.

After Houston stepped down, Wichita Police Lt. Ken Landwehr took the stand. He testified that Rader's case was different from other serial killers because of the length of time between each murder. Other than that, he was later quoted as saying that there was "nothing special" about him.

Rader was like most other serial killers, especially in his aversion to taking responsibility for his savage crimes. Rader found it easier to blame his blood lust on his  "compartmentalized personalities," one side of himself that he claimed he showed to his family and the church and the other dominated by "Factor X"- the killer. Lt. Landwehr told the court that Rader described himself in these terms on several occasions. The families of the victims were set to describe Rader in other terms, when they got their chance to say their piece following the court recess.


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