In January, 1974 Dennis Rader was in between jobs and restless. His wife worked at the VA Hospital in Wichita and didn't like driving in snow and ice, so Dennis would sometimes drive her to and from work. He enjoyed trolling, which consisted of driving or walking around certain neighborhoods or school campuses where there would be women to observe. He would focus in on a good prospect and enter into his fantasy realm of bondage, torture and death, imagining what he would do to her. Bind them, torture them, kill them.

There was a new Hispanic family that had moved into a corner house at Edgemoor and Murdock, and one day while dropping Paula off he spied Julie Otero, age 34, and her daughter Josephine, age 11. He had a thing for Hispanic women, admired their beauty and dark hair.

Rader devised a plan. He gathered together his hit kit, consisting of a gun, cords, knives, various tools for breaking and entering. He observed the Otero house for a time, getting an idea of when people left or returned, what their daily schedule was like. On the morning of January 15, he could wait no longer. After 8 a.m. he came around the house, snuck into the yard and cut the phone line. Hesitating at the back door, unsure if he could go through with it, he barged in. Things were not as he had expected. The man of the house, Joe Otero, 38, was still home, as were Julie, Josephine and Joey, the 9 year old son. Their rather vicious dog was in the house also. Rader seized control of the situation, ordering Joey to put the dog in the back yard at gunpoint. He somehow was able to control all four people using the gun. He told them he was a wanted criminal and needed money, food and a car to escape. At first Joe was dumbfounded and asked him if this was some kind of a joke set up by his brother-in-law. Rader ordered everyone to lie down in the living room, then changed his mind and sent them all into a bedroom. Using his vagrant ruse, he was able to disalarm the Oteros enough to get them all tied up.

However everything changed when Rader put a bag over Joe's head. Joe fought hard, tearing holes in the bag. Rader had to devise a cord ligature to subdue him and kill him. He attempted to manually strangle Julie, but it took considerably longer and much more effort to strangle someone than it did in the movies. Julie passed out, but revived after a time. The second strangulation attempt worked. She had begged Rader not to kill the children, and told him, "God have mercy on your soul".

Nine year old Joey was the next one to die. Rader herded him into his bedroom and did him in through strangulation and suffocation. He apparently rolled off the bed and died facedown on the bedroom floor. Rader says he brought a chair into the bedroom and sat there to watch the boy die.

Eleven year old Josie was the final one. After a failed attempt at strangulation she revived. Rader forced her to walk down to the basement. He put a noose around her neck and informed her she would be going to heaven to join the others. He had asked her for a camera, but she said they didn't have one. Josie was hanged from a sewer pipe in the basement, left partially disrobed. Rader then masturbated over her bare legs, leaving some semen on the pipe behind her.

Afterwards Rader tidied up a bit, collected his things and left after a time. He took Joe's watch and a small radio. He got into their Oldsmobile station wagon and drove to a nearby supermarket, Dillon's, and parked the car. He stealthily tossed the car keys onto the roof of Dillon's and exited the area on foot. After that he claims he walked to his own car, but realized his knife was missing. He claims to have driven back to the Otero house, parked his car in their garage, and then retrieved the knife from the yard.

Rader had no idea that the Oteros had three other older children, all of whom had left for school before his arrival. Charlie, 15, Daniel, 14 and Carmen, 13 were the ones who found their parents dead when they arrived home from school that afternoon.

In April, 1974 Rader was stalking a woman named Kathryn Bright, 21. He had seen her one day entering the home she rented in Wichita. On April 4 he broke into the home via the back porch door. He hid in a bedroom. Around 2 pm Kathryn arrived home, accompanied by her brother Kevin who was 19 years old. Kevin didn't live there, but had gone with his sister that day to the bank. Rader startled them by emerging from the bedroom pointing a gun at them. He recited the same story he had told the Oteros, he was a wanted criminal from California on his way to New York, and needed a car and money. Rader forced the two of them in a bedroom, where Kathryn was tied up by Kevin forced at gunpoint and/or by Rader himself. He attempted to tie Kevin up in another room, but he hadn't brought his best hit kit materials that day and had to improvise from materials found in the home. Kevin worked his way loose and got into a vicious fight for his life with Rader, nearly succeeding in taking the gun from him.

Rader grabbed back the gun and got off a shot that hit Kevin in the face. Still fighting, Kevin made one more attempt to overpower Rader but got shot a second time in the head. Stunned and bleeding, Kevin appeared to be dead or dying and Rader went back to work on Kathryn. She gave him a powerful fight also, but in order to end the scene quickly Rader switched from attempted strangulation to stabbing, getting her with deep cuts to the abdomen and other areas. Meanwhile Kevin had revived and ran out of the house for help. This necessitated Rader having to make a hasty exit, and he did, running from the scene on foot. He ran the many blocks to where his car was parked and drove off. He was all cleaned up by the time his wife got off work, and no one suspected him. Kathryn died in the hospital a few hours later despite urgent attempts to save her with surgery and blood transfusions. Kevin was left in critical condition with his head wounds but survived. He still bears the damage done to him that day. (Photo and a story about Kevin Bright from CNN.com).

In October, 1974 an editor of the Wichita Eagle newspaper received a phone call directing him to a letter hidden in an engineering book at the Wichita Public Library. He notified police instead, who found the letter at the library. It was a gruesome description of the unsolved Otero murders by someone with a good knowledge of the crime scene. It was written in poor English with numerous misspellings. The writer was concerned that the police had recently arrested the wrong men for the Otero murders, and proudly proclaimed, " I did it myself with noone's help". He said, "the code words for me will be... Bind them, toture them, kill them, B.T.K..."

Next: 1975-1979