In ‘Confession of a Serial Killer,’ Dr. Katherine Ramsland got Dennis Rader to reveal the dark fantasies that led him to murder
In 1974, Dennis Rader – who would later be better known as the Bind, Torture, Kill, or BTK Killer – stalked and murdered a family of four in their home in Wichita, Kansas. These were the first of 10 murders over three decades, which came to a climactic end in 2005, when a cat-and-mouse game with the police resulted in his arrest. In her new book, Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer, forensic psychologist Dr. Katherine Ramsland pieces together how this hard-working church council president and dedicated family man developed a gruesome parallel life.
Over the last six years, Dr. Ramsland exchanged letters and phone calls with Rader from his cell in a Kansas maximum security prison, where he’s serving 10 consecutive life sentences. They developed a code – a “codex” as he preferred to call it – to safely write about his victims, his methodology and his expansive fantasy life that led him to commit these murders. The result was what she calls a “guided autobiography” – allowing Rader to reveal himself in his own words. Here, the most striking things we learned.
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