Starting early. The BTK serial killer Dennis Rader had fantasized about torturing people as a child, Professor of Forensic Psychology Dr. Katherine Ramsland reveals in In Touch‘s exclusive sneak peek of A&E’s upcoming documentary, BTK: Confession of a Serial Killer.
“When Dennis Rader, the serial killer known as BTK, started corresponding with me, one of the first things he said was that I should take a drive to the countryside around Wichita,” Dr. Ramsland said in a clip of A&E’s upcoming 4-part documentary, two-night event. “He grew up on farms, and he wanted me to look at the barns and silos. They might look ordinary, but those were the places he had his first torture fantasies.”
“He had this fantasy, he was going to build this silo of terror. And so, he drew it and inside were things like the wheel of death, where he would chain a victim to it, and there was a train along with a railroad track because his fantasy was to tie girls to the track and have the train run over them.”
The scene then cut to a speaker phone conversation between Dr. Ramsland and Rader, 76. “When did you think of a barn for the elaborate torture devices?” she asked. “Back in grade school,” Rader responded. “That’s when it first started. It happened when we were playing cowboys and Indians. We would tie each other up in a silo and I got sexually excited when I would be tied up, or even better, when somebody else was tied up. Later on, I came up with my sexual fantasy about the silo.”
Dr. Ramsland explained more about serial killers who are motivated by sexual urges. “What we know about sexually compelled serial killers like Dennis Rader, is that they often have generated a fantasy life that’s very vivid to them, usually starts quite young,” she said. “Studying that would show me what motivates them to want to kill someone, but also to actually cross the line and do it.”
Rader gave himself the BTK nickname, which stood for his preferred methods of murder — bind, torture, kill. He murdered 10 people between the years 1974 and 1991. He was arrested in 2005 and pleaded guilty during his trial that June. In August of that year, he was sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences, with a minimum of 175 years. He remain in prison at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas.
BTK: Confession of a Serial Killer is 4-part documentary that will air as a two-night event. Parts 1 and 2 will air on night one, and parts 3 and 4 will air on night two.
BTK: Confession of a Serial Killer premieres Saturday, January 8 and Sunday, January 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on A&E.
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