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BTK suspect waives preliminary hearing

Wed., April 20, 2005

WICHITA, Kan. – The man accused of the BTK serial killings waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday, an acknowledgment that the state has enough evidence to go to trial.

During the hearing, which lasted a few minutes, Dennis Rader answered “Yes, sir” to questions from Sedgwick County District Judge Gregory Waller about whether he wanted to waive the hearing and whether he understood his rights. Prosecutors presented no evidence against Rader.

“Considering the low burden of proof, we didn’t think there would be anything new that would come out anyway, so we didn’t think there was much to be gained by having a preliminary hearing,” said Rader’s attorney, Steve Osburn.

After the brief hearing, District Attorney Nola Foulston told reporters: “Of course, there is a certain type of disappointment because it prolongs the agony for the public to know.”

Rader, formerly a city ordinance enforcement officer for suburban Park City, was arrested Feb. 25 and is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder. Rader, 60, will enter a plea at his arraignment, set for May 3.

The BTK strangler, whose nickname stands for “Bind, Torture, Kill,” was suspected of eight torture deaths beginning in 1974, and since Rader’s arrest authorities have linked two more victims to the serial killer. Prosecutors can’t seek the death penalty because the crimes were committed before 1994, when Kansas passed its capital punishment law.

Charlie Otero, whose parents, brother and sister were killed by the BTK strangler in 1974, said in a phone interview from his home in Albuquerque, N.M., that he was “extremely disappointed” that he would have to wait to hear the evidence in the case.

Rader will plead not guilty at his arraignment, Osburn said. He also said he did not foresee Rader pleading innocent by reason of insanity and did not anticipate a plea bargain. Defense attorneys have not decided whether to seek a change of venue for the trial.


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