The BTK Story
Surprise Confession Otero Murders
On Monday, June 27, to everyone's surprise, Dennis Rader confessed in court to the murder of ten people. It had been expected that he would plead guilty once his lawyers had ruled out defense on the basis of insanity.
Rader's chillingly graphic testimony was prompted by particularly pointed questions by Judge Waller, beginning with the murders of the four Oteros. Rader said he went to their home early in the morning, between 7 and 7:30. He claims that he did not know them, but that he had selected Mrs. Otero and her daughter Josephine to be participants in his sexual fantasy. He had planned the timing expecting that only Mrs. Otero and the two youngest children would be in the house. He never expected Mr. Otero to be there and it caused him to panic and "lose control."
That morning, he cut the phone lines and waited at the back door. He claimed he was having second thoughts about aborting the whole plan when Joseph Otero Jr. opened the back door to let the dog out, but then he went on to say that he went in the back door, pulled a pistol on the family. The dog didn't take kindly to him and so he insisted that the dog be put out side.
Rader told them that he was wanted by the police and needed food and a car. Otero offered him a car.
At this point in his confession, Dennis Rader made a very unusual statement: "There I realized that, you know, I didn't have a mask on or anything, that they could ID me, so I made a decision to go ahead and put 'em down, I guess, or strangle them." What he is suggesting is that his intent was to engage in some type of sexual assault and then leave with the victims alive. It is incredible that someone as intelligent as Dennis Rader is and the amount of preparation he made for this attack that he didn't realize in advance that they could identify him, forcing him to casually decide to "put 'em down." The word choice, "put 'em down," is used for euthanizing animals and that's all they were to a man like Dennis Rader.
First he put a plastic bag over Joseph Otero's head and tightened it with cords — which he brought along with him for this purpose, but Otero did not die right away.
By that time, the whole family, had panicked.
Then came another telling statement: "Rader: After that I did Mrs. Otero... I had never strangled anyone before, so I really didn't know how much pressure you have to put on a person or how long it would take..." Again, Rader gives himself away in his choice of words — "….did Mrs. Otero…" — as though it was a routine exercise.
Joseph Otero began to put up a fight and tore a hole in the plastic bag, so Rader put another couple bags and some clothing over his head and tightened the cords. After that, Rader said he "worked pretty quick." "Well, I mean I strangled Mrs. Otero... she went out, passed out and I thought she was dead. I strangled Josephine and she passed out... I thought she was dead and then I went over and put a bag on Jr.' s head and then if I remember right, Mrs. Otero came back... she came back, and… I went back and strangled her again, it finally killed her at that time."
When Judge Waller asked for clarification in the sequence of events, Rader replied: "First of all, Mr. Otero was strangled... a bag put over his head and strangled him. Then, I thought he was going down. Then I went over and strangled Mrs. Otero, and I thought she was down. Then I strangled Josephine and she was down and then I went over to Jr. and put the bag on his head. After that, Mrs. Otero woke back up and you know, she was pretty upset with what's going on and at that point in time, I strangled her... the death strangle at that time." But before Rader strangled Mrs. Otero again, she pleaded with him to save her son.
Rader went on to say "….so I actually had taken the bag off. I was really upset at that point in time. So basically, Mr. Otero was down, Mrs. Otero was down, then I went ahead and took Junior, I put another bag over his head and took him into the other bedroom…. Put a bag over his head, put a cloth over his head, a T-shirt and bag so he couldn't tear a hole in it. He subsequently died from that. I went back up, Josephine had woke back up… "He then took Josephine to the basement and "hung her." He told the judge that after she was hung, he had some sexual fantasies — he masturbated on her body.
The judge asked Rader what he did next and Rader made another telling statement: "I went through the house, kinda cleaned it up: It's called the right-hand rule, you go from room to room clean things up. I think I took Mr. Otero's watch. I guess I took a radio. I had forgot about that but apparently took a radio." Very efficient, procedural and premeditated. Perhaps Rader practiced the right-hand rule in the Air Force. Finally, after he had cleaned up, Rader took the Otero's car and parked it at Dillons and walked back to his car.