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Suspect formally charged in 10 BTK killings

Associated Press
Published March 2, 2005

WICHITA, Kan. - Dennis Rader, the churchgoing family man and Cub Scout leader accused of leading a double life as the BTK serial killer, was charged Tuesday with 10 counts of first-degree murder.

Rader made his first court appearance by videoconference from his jail cell. During the brief hearing, Rader stood behind a podium, his hands folded at times, at others leafing through a copy of the charges against him. He told the judge he is married and was employed with the city of Park City, and said "Thank you, sir" at the end of the hearing.

About a dozen family members of victims were in the courtroom, but they did not speak to reporters. Rader was accompanied by a temporary attorney, and the judge appointed the state's public defender office to represent him.

The BTK killer, whose nickname stands for "Bind, Torture, Kill," was suspected of eight deaths beginning in 1974, but authorities said they had linked two additional victims to the serial killer.

Authorities have declined to say what led them to the 59-year-old Rader, a married father of two, scout leader and active member of a Lutheran church.

However, there were indications a computer disk BTK sent to the television station KSAS provided a key piece of evidence.

Pastor Michael Clark of Christ Lutheran Church - Rader's church - said police asked him for a list of people who had access to the church computer. On Friday, he provided 10 or 15 names, including Rader's, he said.

Jeff Rader told the Wichita Eagle that no one in the family believes his older brother is the BTK serial killer.

"I don't think my brother is BTK," he said. "But if he is - if that's the truth - then let the truth be the truth. And may God have mercy on his soul."

A preliminary hearing was set for March 15.

[Last modified March 2, 2005, 00:48:07]

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