After his arrest in February 2005, Dennis Rader immediately confessed to being the BTK serial murderer who had killed 10 people in the Wichita area of Kansas, between 1974 and 1991. This is the third look at the BTK case for this podcast.
Rader’s ready admission to being behind those murders, and to also being a prolific prowler, stalker and house-breaker, led to many observers of the case hastily labelling him a psychopath. This convenient label tied in with the popular layperson view at the time that all serial murders were simply psychopaths. However, such a label of psychopath only served to actually mask a much more interesting and unique set of pathologies behind Rader’s prolific offending behaviours over three decades, even going back to before he began murdering. Some useful insights into his obsessions and distorted view of the world have come to light that suggest the label of psychopath is too sweeping and inaccurate to be of use. Rader lived within a very complex world with rules and order and some preoccupations and obsessions that would often come to the fore, especially when they helped to reassure Rader about his crimes and behaviours.