Looks were certainly deceiving in BTK case

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Evil. The word is tossed about often in horror films or Stephen King novels, but the definition is scariest

when it refers to real life.

Professed serial killer Dennis Rader stands as proof evil comes in many packages.

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Rader, a 60-year-old father and church president, may not look the part, but he is evil - at least on the inside.

Rader toyed with the media and police by sending cryptic messages after the first murder in 1974. Thirty years later, BTK - the serial killer who terrified Wichita, Kan., during the 1970s by using his preferred method and namesake to "Bind, Torture, Kill"

- resumed the games by sending info to The Wichita Eagle about a previous murder.

The ordinary looking, balding man confessed Monday to killing at least 10 victims. Rader shocked the courtroom and the victims' families by recounting with an apparent complete lack of emotion how he killed his victims, or "projects" and "targets," as he called them.

His courteous manner, neat dress and proper speech were in direct contrast to his recounting of the horrors he committed on the victims. He casually described how he offered one woman a drink of water then proceeded to strangle her. He would allow his victims to smoke cigarettes to remain calm, but then would kill them anyway.

Rader has admitted to the crimes and likely will spend the rest of his life in prison - at the taxpayers' expense. It will cost thousands of dollars to keep him incarcerated. The death penalty is not an option because the crimes were committed before Kansas had adopted the death penalty.

Though the current system is far from perfect in many states including Ohio, the death penalty was created for such occasions as this. Some may feel that it is wrong or humane, but any death administered by the state would surely pale in comparison to the death's of Rader's victims and the inhumane suffering his acts have inflicted on the victims' families.

This tragic case shows that the old adage to "never judge a book by its cover" remains firmly applicable in the world in which we live today.

Sadly, 10 people and countless relatives were prevented a full life by an evil man who did not live in the pages of a book or on the silver screen, but rather walked among us.