'It's a demon that's within me': New documentary reveals notorious BTK serial killer's motive and troubled past

Dennis Rader was arrested in 2005 and is still serving his 10 consecutive life sentences at a prison in Kansas


                            'It's a demon that's within me': New documentary reveals notorious BTK serial killer's motive and troubled past

In an interview that was previously unheard of, and which was given right after he confessed to his crimes more than a decade ago, infamous serial killer Dennis Rader spoke about the motive behind killing 10 people. In the interview, Rader goes into detail about his violent crimes and his childhood.

Now 73 years old, Rader went on a crime spree for 17 years between 1974 and 1991 in Wichita, Kansas, where he ended up killing 10 people including two children. He named himself BTK which stands for "bind, torture, and kill". He was arrested in 2005 and is still serving his 10 consecutive life sentences at a prison in Kansas. The previously unreleased interview that he gave to a local reporter after he admitted to murdering the 10 victims is now the prime focus of a new documentary.

In Oxygen's documentary titled 'Snapped: Notorious BTK Serial Killer', Rader spoke candidly with Larry Hatteberg from KAKE-TV and said: "'How could a guy like me, a church member who raised a family, go out and do those sort of things? I want the people of Sedgwick County, the United States and the world to know that I am a serial killer." 

Previously unreleased interview featured in a new documentary about the BTK serial killer (Source: Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)
Previously unreleased interview featured in a new documentary about the BTK serial killer (Source: Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)

 

Rader then went on to tell the reporter what exactly made him commit the heinous crimes. He said: "I personally think, and I know it's not very Christian, but I actually think it's a demon that's within me. At some point in time, it entered me when I was young. And it basically controlled me."

When Hatteberg asked him if he had any feelings for any of his victims, Rader said: "Yes, I do. I mean, I have a lot of feelings for them. I guess it's more of an achievement for this object in the hunt. Or sort of more of a high, I guess."

The man was a former church leader and had concealed the gruesome murders from his wife and two children. He also revealed in the shocking interview that he started realizing he had a dangerous behavorial trait when he was in the eighth grade.

Rader had said in an earlier interview that it had been his obsession with fame and power that ultimately made him commit the murders. 

He was able to evade capture for 30 years but, in that time, he kept making fun of the police over the murders, something the Zodiac killer famously did. Except, Rader eventually was caught. He communicated with detectives in Wichita using floppy disks that the determined detectives were finally able to trace back to the church he led. 

Rader also worked with Katherine Ramsland, a forensic professor at the DeSales University, and they published a book together about his crimes in 2016 called 'Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer'. She agreed to write the book only after it was decided that the proceeds from the sale of the book went to the victims' families trust fund.

Rader co-authored a book about his killings in 2016 and the proceeds went to the victims' families (Source: Bo Rader-Pool/Getty Images)
Rader co-authored a book about his killings in 2016 and the proceeds went to the victims' families (Source: Bo Rader-Pool/Getty Images)

 

In the book, the serial killer spoke about how he had plans to murder an 11th victim by hanging her upside down in her own home before he was finally arrested. He wrote about the plans he had for his last victims in a detailed three-page part of the book.

He wrote: "This was supposed to be my opus, my grand finale, and to make it different, I would set the house on fire using propane canister." He wrote that he had made it as far as the woman's backyard and even knocked on her door but had to bail because a city street crew showed up unexpectedly at the home.

Rader had then decided to kill the woman in the following spring but was then arrested in February 2005. Detectives from the Wichita police who arrested Rader said that they were pushed to make the arrest because of how cocky he was by giving them details about how he was going to torture his 11th victim. The authorities heard the story from the killer himself but, at that time in 2005, had made the decision to not give out the information to protect the identity of the woman.

A former BTK task force investigator, Tim Relph, had said at the time the book was released: "For him to reveal this information now is cruel." The authorities said that they held back most of the details regarding the murder of the 11th victim for about 11 years because they were worried about the shock that the revelation would cause to the woman who was almost a victim.

They also said that they finally told the woman about what Rader planned to do after they found out that his defense attorneys might try to contact her. Relph said: "She's a pretty tough lady, but this shook her up quite a bit." After Rader was arrested, a few of the victims' relatives sued him and were able to agree on a settlement that would prevent him from profiting off his crimes or any coverage of the families of the victims.