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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Panel Discusses BTK Killer
Aired August 17, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BOB COSTAS, CNN GUEST HOST: Tonight, graphic testimony as the notorious BTK Killer's sentencing opens in Wichita, Kansas, and after three decades of terror, he faces his victims families in court. Among them, one of our guests, Kevin Bright, only known survivor of a BTK attack, an attack in which his sister was murdered.
Plus, their father, mother, sister and brother became BTK's first known victims in 1974. The Oteros were in court today and they are all on this program tonight. We go live to Wichita next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening once again. Bob Costas in for Larry King this week in New York. The news of the day brings us to the beginning of the sentencing hearings for the BTK Killer in Wichita. On our panel tonight, Kevin Bright, the only known survivor of an attack by the self-confessed BTK Strangler, his sister, 21 year old Kathryn Bright was murdered in April of 1974 in her home. Robert Beattie is an attorney and author of "Nightmare in Wichita: the Hunt for the BTK Strangler." That is Mr. Beattie is on the left of your screen. On the right, Richard Lamunyon, former Wichita police chief. He held that position from 1976 through 1989 and Larry Hatteberg, anchor at KAKE TV in Wichita. KAKE received several communications from BTK over the years, Larry has been at that station for more than 40 years and has covered this story from its beginnings in 1974.
Let's begin, difficult as it may be with you, Kevin Bright. Today was the first time you've been in the same room with Dennis Rader since April 4th, 1974. Was it at all helpful to you, as graphic as this testimony was, was it at all helpful to you to be there today and to hear this and to move closer to some kind of closure?
KEVIN BRIGHT, SURVIVOR OF BTK ATTACK: Hi, Bob. Yes, it's helped me a lot to, after 31 years, the time gone by. It brought it back, a lot of painful memories but it helped me to, you know, put a face to the person that killed my sister, and almost took my life, and it just it was helpful.
COSTAS: How was it that you survived the attack? You, yourself, were attacked. You were shot, but you got out of the house. Describe the circumstances.
BRIGHT: Well, after he tied me up, had me tie my sister up, and he separated us into separate bedrooms, and he came back in, and was going to strangle me to death, and I broke loose the bonds he had me tied up with, and jumped up and fought him for the gun and got a hold of him on the gun and tried to, you know, wrestle away from him. I did get it pointed into his stomach and pulled the trigger twice and it didn't go off. And he jerked it away from me and he shot me the first time in the head, and I went down, and then he thought I was dead. And he left me, and went into the other bedroom for awhile, and then he came back in, and he said he kicked me. I don't quite remember that, but anyway, I jumped up again, and fought him again, and then he shot me again, and I went down again, and since there was no weapons or not weapons but nothing to take up and club him with or anything I was about 15 feet from the front door, and I got up and went for the door. I figured he'd be coming out shooting at me but I went out to seek help for us and that's how I got out, with God's grace.
COSTAS: So had the gun got off when you had the upper hand briefly, the majority of these killings never would have happened, you might have killed BTK right there?
BRIGHT: Right. That's one thing I have to live with, the what ifs. You know, he should have been laying there shot twice or so, and you know, like I said, other people that he killed after my sister would still be alive. And you know, we can't second guess things, because it's just the way it turned out.
COSTAS: Was he wearing a mask, and if not, were you able to provide some sort of ID for the authorities? Some sort of description?
BRIGHT: Yes, sir. He was wearing a stocking cap, you know, like it goes down over to the top of your ears and covers just the top of your head. It went to about his eyebrows but he was not wearing a ski mask, where I couldn't see, you know, his face. That's -- before I went into surgery, I gave a description of him, and that's one thing that's kind of been upsetting to me, because I was portrayed as an unreliable witness by several people, and my testimony that they took before I went in to surgery matches -- I nailed him on his description, they had him, they did a composite drawing of him, and so, you know, I had him pegged, I think.
COSTAS: With the passage of time, I realize a lot of thee things are a blur when something as awful and traumatic as this occurs but with the passage of time, you must have had an image of him in your head when he was eventually captured. Obviously he had changed, some 30 years had gone by, but did you recognize, did that image in your head, that you had carried around for all of these years in any way, match up with what you saw on your television screen?
BRIGHT: Yes, not the picture that when I first saw him, you know, in his orange prison garb, dress they have on him, you know, and him being 60 years old, but when I saw a picture of him, 1973, I saw a picture of him, and that was, you know, that nailed him for me.
COSTAS: Richard Lamunyon, you were the police chief in Wichita from '76 through '89. So you take that position a couple of years, after Mr. Bright's sister was murdered by BTK, but was the description that Mr. Bright provided of any use at all?
RICHARD LAMUNYON, FORMER WICHITA POLICE CHIEF: Well, we made a composite off of what Kevin had given us, and to the best of his ability, and we portrayed the composite in the news media. We asked for help and we were never able to get anyone to identify him based on the composite, but again, that's before we had computers and we had the ability to make facial designs that is much more life-like now but I think Kevin gave us the best information he had and the artists in those days put it together and an effort was made to use the composite. In fact, it's been used for the past 30 years prior to Rader being brought in to custody.
COSTAS: Why was he able to stay at large as long as he did? What combination of skill on his part, if he was some sort of sick master criminal, what combination of luck, what percentage do you ascribe to luck and what percentage is mistakes or oversights on the part of the authorities?
LAMUNYON: I don't think -- I think you have to attribute a lot of it to luck but a lot of it also has to be with the fact that the way he selected his victims, we never could find a tie. They were random in nature, and what we did in the '70s and '80s we put together a task force and we identified the type of individual we were looking for. We knew that he was a WSU student. We knew in our mind he was either a police officer or the family member of a police officer or wannabe police officer.
We had a list of, we knew that he was a sexual deviant of some type. We knew he was a Caucasian, so we had a lot of things going. We just didn't have his name. We had the profile right and I think what helped him was luck, but also his ability to blend in. He was one of us. I mean, he was a member of society. He had a wife, a family. He had, he went to church. He did all of these things. So the ability for him to actually hide out in the open was there, and so I think that the officers, and I think if you'll find as they go through the case and the evidence, you'll see that this case is solid in terms of courtroom presentation, the investigations that were conducted, and every step of the way, everything that was done that could physically possibly be done was done.
We had assistance from outside from the Kansas Bureau Investigation, from the FBI, from other departments that had been involved in serial murders. We were getting advice from profilers. We were getting advice from behavioral science people and we were listening to all of that. But the bottom line is, once you come down to it, you have to make the decisions. So as I reflect back on Rader, and if you'll notice as he goes through any phase of his particular life, just like he's going through now, he seeks for control and he seeks to work his way through it.
When he started murdering, he wasn't clear what he was going to do and he worked his way through over a number of years killing 10 people. In his communications in the beginning, they were staggered and they were not clear, but as he got focused, they become clearer, and the same thing is true when he came back this last time.
He came back, I think, in part because of the publicity that the book was bringing about, because of what the local media had done in terms of the 30-year anniversary, but he came back, I think, with a purpose, and that is, I had hoped at first it was remorse, you know, and guilt that brought him back, but it was just sheer ego and arrogance that brought him back, and he wanted to tell his story in his own words and that's why he ended up getting tripped up, but it's because of the foundation that the police department laid in 1970 and 1980 that allowed those officers today to simply pick up the files, if you will, and move forward.
COSTAS: We'll continue and bring you the rest of our panel as LARRY KING LIVE continues from New York and Wichita, Kansas after this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Others have indicated that he referred to his individual victims as projects. Did he have a name for Maureen Hedge?
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Yes. Maureen Hedge was nicknamed Project Cookie. He thought he might have used a belt but then he thought about it and says, no, I used my hands. I throttled her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were engaged in some kind of fantasy during this period of time?
DENNIS RADER, BTK SERIAL KILLER: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Now, when you use the term fantasy, is this something you were doing for your personal pleasure?
RADER: Sexual fantasy, sir. After I strangled her with the belt, I took the belt off and retied it with panty hose real tight, removed the handcuffs and tied those with panty hose, I can't remember the colors right now. I think I maybe retied her feet. They were probably already tied, her feet were, and at that time masturbated, sir.
COSTAS: Continuing from New York and Wichita, bringing in Robert Beattie, the attorney who wrote the book "Nightmare in Wichita: the Hunt for the BTK Strangler." It's widely believed that book and the fact that it hit the best seller list and drew a lot of attention, Mr. Beattie, is part of what lured the BTK Killer out. Are you convinced that's true?
ROBERT BEATTIE, AUTHOR, "NIGHTMARE ININ WICHITA: THE HUNT FOR THE BTK STRANGLER": Well, that's what authorities have told me and Dennis rader told them and also what he told Larry Hatteberg, that basically he couldn't stand somebody else getting attention for his work. His initial letter in 1974 was because there had been another man or three other men arrested for the Otero murders. And he couldn't stand somebody else getting attention for the murders. He wrote a letter saying, "They didn't do it. I did." And yeah, I think it probably had something to do with bringing him out.
COSTAS: Larry Hatteberg of KAKE-TB in Wichita, in your view is Dennis Rader enjoying what's going on now? He's a much bigger celebrity. Outside of Wichita he was not as well-known as other notorious types. Now he is extremely well-known. Is he enjoying this?
LARRY HATTEBERG, KAKE-TV: Bob, he absolutely loves it. He loves to see us talking about it tonight and I'm sure if he's watching television, if he has access to a television set tonight that he's absolutely enjoying every piece of publicity he's getting from this because that's really what he lived for. He liked being in the limelight. He liked seeing his name in the paper. He liked hearing us talk about him on television, and that was one of the thrills.
One of -- his thrill was, of course to kill, and to torture, but the other aspect of it was he loved to be in the media limelight and he loved to manipulate it. We've said this many times, he was like a master puppeteer. He manipulated the public, the police and the media.
And we were all being pulled by Dennis Rader, the master puppet puppeteer and he loves this publicity. And a lot of people have said the best thing can happen to Dennis Rader is to put him in a cell and turn the light off and not give him access to any radio or any television and that would be a terrible punishment for Dennis Rader.
COSTAS: Larry, you've been around this for a long time, obviously, especially in Wichita and upon his capture, beyond Wichita. This is a news-worthy item but there's a lot of peripheral coverage. I have serious misgivings about this program right here, righjt now.
COSTAS: Do we contribute to an atmosphere which is not so much informative as it is voyeuristic. What's the positive purpose of this?
HATTEBERG: Well, I think the positive purpose of this is why we put a man like Dennis Rader, if we simply put him in jail and throw away the key and don't hear about him anymore, we as a society have not solved the problem. I think it's incumbent upon the media, upon the psychologists, upon the researchers to try to figure out what made Dennis Rader the way he was.
Dennis Rader told me he knew when he was in elementary school that he was vastly different than any other young men. He was having these sexual fantasies, he told me, that he knew no other young man was having.
I think it's important for society to find out the root cause because we don't want to have any more Dennis Raders out there. And the other thing is, as long -- until we find out all of the facts about the case, there is a possibility that myths will grow up around Dennis Rader and it will be like the Kennedy assassination, it will never go away until all of the questions are answered. And I think that's the news media's role now to answer all the questions so this whole story will finally go away.
COSTAS: Robert Beattie, like Larry Hatteberg you've followed it and studied it and clearly there is a potential benefit. This guy is going to spend the rest of his natural life in prison and if he's forthcoming they can study him and perhaps draw some conclusions. But from what we know now he is atypical in most respects compared to other serial killers. He led a life and cover story that he created elaborately that he lived that made him unlike other serial killers. So in the end, if we learn more about this guy, is there anything that we can apply to others, take from this story and apply to others?
BEATTIE: Well, we've only studied the serial killers that have been caught and guys like Dennis Rader -- successfully alluded capture for 31 years. There's other Dennis Raders out there. So the profile, I think is going to have to change. Social scientists and police will study Dennis Rader.
As far as telling the story it's important to Wichita. It's like a war ended here. It was something that people, my generation that lived through this for 30 years, and if you don't want to talk about Dennis Rader, you can talk about the three generations of detectives that worked on this case. Some of them just obsessed with it, and I'm glad they finally have some satisfaction in seeing this guy go g to prison.
COSTAS: Larry Hatteberg, briefly before we go to break, he has told you he's been working on his apology. He's going to make a statement at the end of these hearings and it sounds typically remorseless. He's sort of got it orchestrated doesn't he?
HATTEBERG: Right. Well, he told me that he was working on a speech that we believed to be that he's going to try to apologize to the victim's families and he told me "be sure and bring a box of Kleenex." And I don't know if he was referring to box of Kleenex for me or a box of Kleenex for him but for the past month or so he's been working on some sort of speech that he wants to say tomorrow, and we won't know exactly what it is until it comes right out of Dennis Rader's mouth tomorrow in court.
COSTAS: Is he entitled to say anything he wants to say or if what he is saying is so objectionable or inappropriate can the judge cut him off?
HATTEBERG: Oh, absolutely, the judge rules that courtroom and it's a very good judge. And he has the opportunity and he has the power to cut Dennis Rader off at any point. My guess is that he will let Dennis Rader speak unless it's absolutely totally objectionable in some way and he of course will cut him off.
COSTAS: Kevin Bright, do you have any interest in what Mr. Rader may say? He murdered your sister, he nearly murdered you?
HATTEBERG: Not really. You know, despite his just lack of care about the lives he took, taken, and no remorse, and like you said, he called them projects, that he had to fulfill his fantasies. And so I'll just look at him as, you know, he's a person that's not even really here. When I look at him, it's like seeing Satan sitting there because he's so evil and like Larry and Robert said, he's out for his own, you know, ego, and that's all he cares about.
COSTAS: We'll continue on LARRY KING LIVE after this break.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well he likes, as he put, a little static but he'll take a little static.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did it end at this point?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it was, she wanted a little bit more explanation. He indicated that, you know, that he was going to, that he was going to rape her and that there was going to be some tying he was going to tie her up and that he was going to take some pictures and she indicated that she thought he was sick, and he indicated, yeah, I am sick, but this is the way it's going to be.
RADER (video clip): If you read much about serial killers they go through what they call different phases, that's one of the phases they go through, a trolling stage. You're looking for a victim at that time and you could be trolling for months or years, but once you lock in on a certain person, you become stalking and that might be several of them but you really hone in on that person. They basically become the, that's the victim. Or that's what you want the victim.
COSTAS: Continuing now, Richard Lamunyon former Wichita police chief, in your estimation, what's the likelihood that Dennis Rader dies of natural causes in prison? Can he be protected?
LAMUNYON: I think he can, to a certain extent and I think they'll make every effort to do that. I think they will isolate him but he will have -- as time goes on he'll have the opportunity to get out in the population.
COSTAS: And he'll be a target.
LAMUNYON: I think so. He's a pedophile of such, and the other thing is you have to keep in mind that whatever situation he's in, Bob, he has to be in control of it, and just right now, and I heard you say to Larry what he's going to say in court. It doesn't matter. It is going to be self-serving. I can assure you of that. It is all going to be about Dennis Rader.
Whether he comes across trying to apologize to Kevin and other victims in the family. It's not going to happen, because he is purely evil and he is mean and vicious, and he has gotten this way by this obsession that he has, and it's all by his own choice. You know, I've heard a lot of people speculate that something happened to Dennis Rader, and he's going to tell you that and he's going to tell behavioral science people that.
I don't believe that for a second. I don't believe he was dropped on his head or I don't believe that somebody told his lollipop when he was six. I think Dennis Rader chose to be what he is. He got a family. He went to church. He did these other things to put a mask on, but he is an evil, mean, vicious individual who murders people, and that's what we all have to concentrate on. We always want to look back and find a cause. But the reason is he's evil and he chose to be that way.
COSTAS: Larry Hatteberg we know he is remorseful concerning his victims. Does he have any legitimate emotion about his now ex-wife and two grown children? Does he miss them? Does he have any sense what have he's done to their lives or is he incapable of feeling that as well?
HATTEBERG: Well, I asked him about his family, when I met him face to face in jail, and I asked him specifically about his wife, and his two children. He didn't want to talk about his wife. He said he was proud of his two children, but he wouldn't go past that. He wouldn't talk much about his kids at all. He didn't want to talk much about his family at all at this point, because there were a number of questions that I wanted to ask him about his relationship with all members of his family, and he just wouldn't go there.
COSTAS: Do we know if he carried on what would be viewed as normal marital relations with his wife over all the time that he was the BTK Killer?
HATTEBERG: Well, we don't really know that. His wife, Paula, has never come forward and never talked to the media. So we really don't know what his relationship was with his wife. A lot of people speculated that the family was simply a prop. It was like he was in a movie and had to have the wife, he had to have the kids, he had to have the job in order to seem legitimate so that he could do the thing that he really wanted to do, which was kill people. He was, in every sense of the word, a killing machine.
And I think -- excuse me. It came out in court today, particularly when he was talking about 11-year-old Josie Otero. As he was taking her downstairs and was about to hang her from a pipe in the basement, he asked her if she had a camera because he wanted to take a picture of this. Can you imagine that? I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams somebody -- wildest nightmares actually -- somebody actually saying that. Asking an 11-year-old girl just before he kills her, if she has a camera. It's unbelievable.
COSTAS: So for amateur psychologists out there, apparently, and you know a good deal about this guy and his case, this is not a Norman Bates-type situation there where there's a divide and he becomes one persona and most of time he's another persona. In his own mind the two coexisted and one was a cover for the other. It wasn't he became one and the good Dennis Rader sits and says I don't know how this happened, it jumped out of my body, it exists apart from me. HATTEBERG: No, I think they coexisted at the same time. And I think his normal life was simply the cover for his killing. He needed that normalcy in order to do the killings, and that was the thing about Dennis Rader that was so frightening and Chief Lamunyon said it so well even before Dennis Rader was caught. The frightening thing about him was that he was, in every sense, the neighbor next door. He was the guy next door. He didn't look like a serial killer. He didn't act like a serial killer. He could be warm. He could be friendly. That's how he got into many of the homes, so he could be a very affable guy.
And we expect our serial killers to be these monsters that when you see them in a lineup you'll say oh, that guy right there, he is a serial killer. Dennis Rader wasn't like that. He was the guy next door, and that really was, that was, to me one of the most frightening things about him.
COSTAS: Robert Beattie, to somebody who is not immersed in all of the details from this but from where I sit and what little I know of it, even if he was a very careful and skillful criminal, there were lots of things that could have gone wrong. He took changes, he kept sick mementos, he kept photos and underwear and things like that, so that was there. He took the cars of some of the victims and dumped the bodies. He took the body of one victim to his church and posed her for bondage photographs. He threw a concrete block through the window of one victim to gain entry. A lot of things can go wrong, especially since all of these things happened in a small radius of three-and-a-half or four-mile radius over a period of time. That's a whole lot of possibilities where, with a little bit of luck, bad luck for him, good luck for the authorities, he could have been nabbed.
BEATTIE: Well, he was lucky. And he was, you know, all along, he was willing to die. The forces that drove him to his is sadistic, evil nature that drove him, he was willing to die. It was so -- forced him to go do these things, in his point of view. He had a choice. He didn't have to do that.
He didn't have to send the letters which is kind of, threw that in afterwards to taunt the community and increase the anxiety. But I think he enjoyed it. I think his basic personality was BTK, and Dennis Rader was contrived to divert attention so he could continue. He said basically his whole life he continued stalking. He never stopped that. He was basically a window peeper and a bully.
COSTAS: Mr. Beattie quickly before a break, some people would speculate that he wanted to be caught because then it gets him onto this bigger stage. Did he want to be caught? He's 60-years-old, maybe he can't carry out the crimes anymore, he's at the end of the road so it's time for this stage of the sick drama?
BEATTIE: No. He didn't want to be caught. Lieutenant Landweir (ph) gave a presentation on July 8, and he was asked the same question and said no, this guy did not want to be caught. He wanted to go away. And if he achieved any anonymous notoriety it was going to be -- he wanted it to be anonymous. And if he became known, he wanted it to be after he was dead. COSTAS: He killed ten people between '74 and '91, none since '91. How did he address the compulsion in the interim?
BEATTIE: Well, what he had said is that basically he was too busy raising his family to follow through with the level of detail he wanted his hits, his project, as he said. He continued stalking, but didn't attack anyone. Also he was aging and he had had fights with younger women. And he was probably a little bit reluctant to get into a situation where, you know -- nothing would have humiliated him more than to be overcome which a woman.
COSTAS: We continue from New York and Wichita, Kansas, right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was choking her and then he was going to replace the belt with panty hose and during that time of taking the belt, she came back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meaning that he had choked her to the extent that she lost consciousness?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then when the belt was released, she was able to get enough oxygen to recover?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then what did he do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that time, when she came back, he saw that as an opportunity. And at that time, he whispered in her ear and told her that he was BTK. He said that he was a really bad guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTAS: We're joined now from Wichita by Danny Otero and Carmen Otero Montoya along with their attorney Peter Gorski. Danny Otero was 14, Carmen Otero was 13 when they came home to find in January of 1974 to find that both their parents and their 9-year-old brother, Joseph, and 11-year-old sister, Josephine, had been killed by the BTK Killer. I know it's painful, but you've agreed to be on the program. Danny, what do you remember of that day?
DANNY OTERO, FAMILY KILLED BY BTK KILLER: I remember it all in great detail. It was like it happened yesterday, but now it's all come to the forefront, and we're facing it all again, and dealing with it, and maybe putting an end to this madness.
COSTAS: Is it a good thing -- painful as it is, is it a good thing in your mind? Obviously it's a good thing he's been apprehended and will spend the rest of his life behind bars, but is it a good thing that all of this graphic detail has come out and that the families have had the option of hearing it if they wish to?
OTERO: As painful as it is and hard to face, it's necessary. It's something that has to be done. We have to put it all together, and just bring this to an end.
COSTAS: Your older brother, Charlie, had come home, and he found, if I've got the story right, he found your parents murdered but didn't realize that Joseph and Josephine who were in another part of the house, were also dead. And he sent you and your sister out to intercept them. He thought they might be on their way home from school and wanted to spare them the sight of their parents lying there dead. He didn't realize they were in another part of the house, is that correct?
OTERO: Actually, no, that is not the...
COSTAS: I apologize. That's the way I got it. Please set the story straight.
OTERO: Actually, Carmen and I came home first. Carmen discovered my parents' bodies in the master bedroom. And she screamed out for me. And I ran over there. And together, we tried to help them, but it was fruitless. They were long gone. They had been dead for quite some time.
As we were leaving the house, Charlie arrived. And I tried to keep him out of the house, but he just went right by me. And he went in there and while he was in there doing whatever he was doing, I ran next door. And the neighbor was outside, walking up the sidewalk, and I asked him, I was screaming and yelling and panicking really and saying, please, please, help me. There's something wrong with my parents. I think they're dead. Could you call the police?
And he just ran into his house. And then I ran back, and I got Charlie and Carmen outside, because I kept saying, there could be somebody else here. And we all went outside and waited for the police to come. And they arrived shortly after, well, probably about ten minutes later.
COSTAS: Carmen, the death penalty was not reinstated in Kansas until 1994. And the last of the known BTK Killings was in 1991, and thus, he does not face the death penalty. Does that upset you? Would you like to see him executed?
CARMEN OTERO MONTOYA, PARENTS KILLED BY BTK KILLER: Years ago it might have upset me but now it doesn't upset me. As long as he's behind prison walls, the city of Wichita doesn't have to fear him anymore. And we know for a fact that he won't be able to hurt anyone. I'm OK with that.
COSTAS: Over the years, as decades went by without his being apprehended, it's more than 30 years since the deaths of your family members, did you feel anger toward the authorities in Wichita? Whether or not it was justified, it would be a normal human reaction. Why can't they solve this? Why can't they apprehend this guy? MONTOYA: For a long time I felt frustration and anger. But then, you know, I started having my own family and raising my own kids. I went forward. You know, I didn't want to raise my kids being totally angry, and worried about every little minute I went around the corner, or first thing I looked for when I walked in the door type thing.
So, basically, I left it behind as much as I could.
COSTAS: What did each of you do with your own lives in terms of where you live? Did you stay in Wichita? Did you feel fear? Because after all, you didn't know the M.O. of this guy. You didn't know if he'd return for other family members. How did you respond to all this?
MONTOYA: Well, you know, we were fortunate enough that we were taken to New Mexico, so we didn't have to live here and feel that fear, and hear all the crazy stories and that kind of thing. We were able to move forward.
OTERO: Well, for the first couple of years, I got to admit, we weren't sure why our family was killed, and in such a fashion, and we were wondering if somebody was trying to get all of us, so for the first year or two, I got to admit, I was anxious, wondering if somebody was hunting us down.
But after awhile, we just put it aside, and I went on with my life a long time ago. I've got a great family, wife, kid, grandkids. I got a great life and I want to get this done, so I can get back to that life.
COSTAS: You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. And we'll continue after this.
COSTAS: We're joined now by Danny and Carmen Otero and their attorney, Peter Gorski from Wichita. Some ask why put yourself through the ordeal of being in the courtroom today. Was there any question in your mind? Did you have to weigh it of were you certain this was the right thing to do?
OTERO: I, myself, knew that there was something that had to be done. I needed to know. I needed to know, basically 31 years of guessing what actually happened those last moments -- as hard as it was, I had to look. I had to see. I had to hear. I just wanted to know what were my family's last thoughts, as gruesome as it was. And I'm surprised I did it.
COSTAS: Carmen, did you make eye contact with Dennis Rader? Did you get any reaction from him, and what was your reaction to being in the same room with this man?
MONTOYA: I didn't have any eye contact with Rader this time, although I did last time, and him being in the room, actually, didn't really affect me that much. It was what was on the screen. That affected me more than his presence.
COSTAS: All of the families have an opportunity to make victim impact statements. Do you plan to take advantage of that opportunity, Carmen?
MONTOYA: Oh, definitely.
COSTAS: What will that testimony be like? What do you plan to say in general?
MONTOYA: Well, you know, I don't want to talk about what he did. We came home and found it. We've lived it for 31 years and I don't want to glorify it. I want the people to know what my family is all about, that they were very good people and I want him to -- well I want the people to know whether he listens or not, that's his deal.
COSTAS: Mr. Gorski, a number, if not all of the families of the victims have filed wrongful death suits or some other sort of civil action pending. What, besides the satisfaction of confronting him, can they hope to recover in terms of damages from Mr. Rader?
PETER GORSKI, CIVIL ATTORNEY FOR THE OTEROS: Well, each of the attorneys will be -- if they haven't already, be filing actions to get a default judgment, unless he were to file an answer, in which case we'll proceed to a trial to get a judgment against him.
Kansas has passed, as many states have, what are known as Son of Sam laws, designed to keep notorious criminals from profiting from their crimes, and so at a minimum, we hope to ensure that any monies that might come his way -- and we understand there are people from around the country that are sending money to him, amazingly enough -- that that money be diverted into a fund for all of the victims, but beyond that, to the extent possible to try and prevent third parties from capitalizing.
COSTAS: He's announced his own intention to defend himself in court, in any of these civil actions. Are we now fated to see Dennis Rader on Court TV for many years into the future, and doesn't this just play into his emotional needs?
GORSKI: My best guess is no. I guess time will tell, but in very short order, default applications for default judgments will be filed. He has not filed an answer. He's merely filed an appearance. That's not adequate to stop us from going forward.
COSTAS: Let's take a break here, and we'll continue from both New York and Wichita in just a moment.
Over 31 years he sent many notes to Wichita police and the local media and once even reported one of his own murders to 911.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's also developed a taste for publicity. Over 31 years he sent many notes to Wichita police and the local media, and once, even reported one of his own murders to 911.
DENNIS RADER: You will find a homicide at 843 South Pershing.
COSTAS: Continuing with Carmen and Danny Otero who lost their parents and two siblings to the BTK killer, Danny, is there some sort of bond between the families of the victims? You've had an opportunity to see and I assume speak to them in the last couple of days, since many of them have been in the courtroom. Is there some sort of kinship there?
OTERO: I would say to some extent, yes. This is not the first time we've met. We were here at the original arraignment, and we did meet a lot of the families. They're -- we have a lot in common in the grief that we're sharing and the anxiety and attention, the whole experience.
And going through it together, we kind of know how we feel, you know how each other feels, and yes, I feel for them. I feel for them, and I really feel the love and sympathy and, you know, the way they feel towards us also.
COSTAS: Is it possible -- people talk about moving beyond traumatic events. I imagine that with the passage of time and now with this closure you can cope with it a bit better, is it at all possible to truly move beyond something like this?
OTERO: Oh, I did that 30 years ago. Actually, my life has gotten better and better and better. I mean, in the last 20 years, you know, being married to Tina and having my daughter Katrina (ph) and my grandkids, Michael, and Mikayla (ph) and Desiree (ph).
And I mean, I got a great family and I got a great life. This is going to be behind me for awhile. I'm just anxious to get back to that. Now that this has come to the front, we just kind of deal with it all over again, finish it up, and get rid of Dennis Rader and go back to my life.
COSTAS: Danny, Carmen, Peter Gorski, their attorney, thanks to all of you. We'll be rejoined by our original panel when we come back for our final segment on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE from New York and Wichita, Kansas.
COSTAS: Back now with our original panel which includes Larry Hatteberg of KAKE-TV in Wichita, where he's been a reporter of more than 40 years. One of the things that's come out in the last few day, Larry, is that Dennis Rader had fantasies of his victims as servants and sex slaves in an afterlife.
Were those, so far as you can determine, merely sexual fantasies or does he actually believe in an afterlife and in his sick mind, does it include this? LARRY HATTEBERG, KAKE-TV ANCHOR: Well, apparently he does believe in some sort of an afterlife, and this came out in court today and this is the first time most of us have ever heard about this before, but he had this afterlife concept of his victims that his victims would become his servants in the afterlife.
He had Mr. Otero, for example, as his guard. He had -- and I believe it was Nancy Fox -- who he had as his mistress in this afterlife. So he had specific jobs for each of his victims. Really unbelievable, when we heard this in court.
When the testimony occurred in court today, people were just shaking their head listening to had this. They could not believe that Dennis Rader who actually believe this, but apparently he did.
COSTAS: Robert Beattie, is this guy the worst of the worst? There may be degrees of evil. Is this guy the worst of the worst?
ROBERT BEATTIE, AUTHOR, "NIGHTMARE IN WICHITA: THE HUNT FOR THE BTK STRANGLER": I know of no one else qualifies under the legal definition of a mass murderer, a serial killer and a domestic terrorist. He terrorized Wichita off and on for 31 years.
He continued killing. We don't know that he wouldn't have killed again. I don't know of anyone who is worse. I mean, that's just -- I don't know even how to even to qualify -- quantify that. Maybe some social scientist would, but in any case, the story that I set out to write was the hunt for the BTK strangler.
That was what was available to me, about the police investigators, investigative reporters, the nightmare in Wichita and that was the story I tried to tell and that was the story I think -- I hope people remember, more than Dennis Rader.
COSTAS: Richard Lamunyon, let me ask you to speculate here a little bit. He stipulated his guilt. The defense mounted no defense at all, but sometimes, perhaps not in this case, but sometimes, the death penalty, if it's available for all of its flaws and inconsistencies can be used as a bargaining chip with a killer. Can't it, to get information, to get him to be more forthcoming? It has a use beyond just executing the guy, can be used as a bargaining chip.
RICHARD LAMUNYON, FORMER WICHITA POLICE CHIEF: Well, that's correct. And in this particular case, that was not an issue because he was so willing to talk. He actually identified with the officers, and of course, what you have to look at, is this is a 31-year-old investigation that held together all the way through it.
And the community, you know, pulled together with the department. There was never any animosity toward each other. We had the frustration but everyone pulled together on this. In this particular case, and something all law enforcement has to keep in mind, they are serial killers but there are individuals. None of them fit into a perfect box.
In this particular case, this is a very unique story, over three decades. And every time law enforcement is confronted with this, you have to look and listen to the experts. You have to take their advice but you have to hone in on the person you're dealing with and be persistent and eventually the results will show for themselves.
COSTAS: Larry Hatteburg in about 30 seconds, was there ever consideration of an insanity plea and would it have made any difference?
HATTEBERG: Well, I think they may have considered it at one point but I don't think it would have made any difference. I think that Dennis Rader wanted to plead guilty. I think he wanted to take credit for what he was doing. As we' said on this program he's proud what have he's done and I think he's very happy to plead guilty. He wants the world to see what kind of monster he really is.
COSTAS: And he believes, he made the statement, I know that these victims are human beings but you must understand, I am a monster. Was he just saying that for effect or does he perceive himself that way?
HATTEBERG: No, he talked to me about that. He characterized himself as a monster. I truly believe that he believes he is a monster, but I don't believe there's any emotion attached to it. You know, he sees his victims as projects, and while he says he may have remorse, I don't think he has an ounce of remorse for his victims. You don't see it in his eyes. You don't hear it in his voice.
COSTAS: Larry, our thanks to you and all of the members of our two panels. For Larry King, Bob Costas sitting in tonight in New York. And now we turn things over to Aaron Brown, anchor of NEWSNIGHT, and where do you begin this morning, Mr. Brown?
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: We're just going to complete the sentence
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