Video: Serial killer confessions

updated 6/28/2005 10:45:50 PM ET 2005-06-29T02:45:50

“I finished the job on Kathryn and she was fighting.  And at that point and time I‘d been fighting her and I just and then I heard some — I don’t know whether I was basically losing control.  Strangulation wasn't working on her and I used a knife on her."

Those are the chilling words of serial killer Dennis Rader.  He spoke calmly, as one might describe buying milk or getting an oil change.  The notorious BTK killer explained how he murdered 10 people between 1974 and 1991.  In his own words, he “trolled for victims” whom he called  “projects” specifically selected to carry out his sexual fantasies. 

Rader, the self-named bind-torture-kill murderer, tormented Wichita, Kansas for 31 years.  Only five months after his arrest, families of the victims found answers they were seeking, straight from the killer’s mouth.  But, they received more than they, perhaps, wanted to know: graphic details.

After the confession, MSNBC-TV’s Dan Abrams spoke with Kim Parker, Wichita, Kansas’ chief deputy District Attorney who was in the courtroom during the trial. 

ABRAMS:  That is one of the most horrifying and disgusting things I have ever heard.  I mean his demeanor is so disturbing. There are a lot of horrible people out there and there are a lot of horrible murderers and killers, but it almost seems like he doesn‘t have any remorse or regret.  Am I wrong?  Did he express that in court? 

PARKER: You are absolutely right he expressed no remorse and.  It was one of the most chilling things I’ve ever heard.  I have been a persecutor for 23 years and worked on a number of murder, rape and sexual assault cases, and he is shockingly very matter of fact.  I think it seems as if he recognizes who he is and what he is capable of and his intents are very clear. He expressed today that he was going to fulfill his objectives — killing and sexually fantasizing while he was in the presence of these victims.

ABRAMS: You know, as we played that and I think about what we knew about this guy, I start to wonder about playing the tape.  I mean, is this what he wants?  I know that for a long time he was sending these notes to the media because he wanted attention, he wanted to be heard, et cetera.  Was this his final disgusting hurrah? 

PARKER:  I‘m really proud of you for targeting on that because I think that's probably exactly right.  He has always sought media attention by playing a sort of a cat and mouse game.  Now this gives him one more opportunity to control what‘s going on and gather the media’s attention.  It's very unfortunate, because the lives of those individuals that he took without mercy and with such depravation has certainly affected and impacted people for a long time in a horrible and terrifying way. 

ABRAMS:  Maybe we should have thought twice about playing the tape.  Tell me a little bit about how the victims’ families are doing.  This must have been very, very hard for them to listen to. 

PARKER:  It was very emotional, especially for those families that were represented at the time of the murders of their loved ones they were only children, like Steve Relford and the Wegerle children and Oteros were left without their parents and brother and sister.  They’ve lived their lives not knowing what‘s gone on.  They’ve tried to imagine why anyone would take the life of the one that they loved so much.  They intend to speak at the sentencing, and at that time maybe give some insight to the court what their feelings are about this man and the horrifying things that he‘s done to destroy their lives. 

ABRAMS: Finally, you can’t seek the death penalty, right?  I mean when this is over, he’s going to get life in prison, right? 

PARKER: That’s true.  The death penalty was not in effect in Kansas at the time of the murders.  There was a death penalty statute, however it had been voided, a decision as unconstitutional.  It was on the books.  However, there was also a state ruling that indicated that that was not and could not be imposed in this state.  And therefore, it was null and void at that time and no notice was given to anyone of death and so you could not impose death for those murders.   In 1994, Kansas re-enacted the death penalty. 

ABRAMS: I’m glad that the families don’t have to sit through a trial where he sits there and claims he didn’t do it, even though you know you guys had a confession, DNA evidence, et cetera.  You know at least that‘s small, small solace is there, but that is going to haunt me for a long time. 

Watch the 'Abrams Report' for more analysis and interviews on the top legal stories each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV.


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