EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) – As he was being driven to prison Friday to begin serving a life sentence, Dennis Rader chatted with officers about the weather – noting how green the scenery looked.

At one point, a radio station played the emotional testimony of victims’ family members from Rader’s sentencing as the BTK serial killer, Sedgwick County Sheriff Gary Steed said.

“He stared out the window,” Steed said. “And when he turned and looked at me he had tears in his eyes.”

The killer was led into the El Dorado Correctional Facility prison at 7:28 a.m. CDT, having arrived in the back seat of a sedan accompanied by a marked sheriff’s patrol car and another vehicle carrying seven officers. He wore an orange jumpsuit and was chained at the wrists and ankles.

It is uncertain whether Rader will spend the rest of his life in El Dorado. He’ll undergo a two-week screening to determine if he is best fit to remain or be transferred to one of the state’s other maximum-security prisons, in Lansing and Hutchinson.

While he is in El Dorado, he will be held in an 80-square-foot cell with a concrete slab bunk, metal shelving and a chair, sink and plastic trash can. He’ll be issued a brown jumpsuit and blue slip-on shoes.

At least initially, Rader will have no television or radio and limited access to reading materials, except his own legal documents. His meals will be delivered through an opening in his cell door.

For now, he will be allowed three brief showers and five one-hour recreation periods each week. During the free time, he’ll be kept in restraints and escorted to a 10-foot-by-10-foot outdoor pen surrounded on the sides and top by chain link.

“Public safety is our primary mission,” said Ray Roberts, the warden.

Rader’s arrival at El Dorado came after a two-day sentencing hearing in nearby Wichita marked by detectives’ accounts of Rader’s murderous wrath, prosecutors’ portrayal of his bizarre fetishes, the emotional and angry voices of victims’ families and the strangler’s own rambling oration of thanks and apology.

Rader, who wanted to be known as BTK for “bind, torture, kill,” got the stiffest sentence the law allowed – 10 consecutive life terms with no chance of parole for 175 years.

While the sentencing may have answered decades-old questions for the community, it also left behind lingering doubts that there may be other unsolved murders – perhaps committed after Kansas reinstated the death penalty in 1994 – to which Rader never confessed.

On Friday, the state’s top law enforcement officials on the BTK task force said they can only account for 10 murders so far, although they have evidence Rader was involved in other burglaries.

But police also acknowledged that they never linked Rader to two Park City murders until he himself confessed to them after his capture. None of the evidence collected points to him to other unsolved cold cases, they said.

FBI special agent Kevin Stafford said investigators believe someone with his personality type would have told police about additional murders. Kansas Bureau of Investigation Director Larry Welch said that during Rader’s interrogations, officers “couldn’t shut him up.”

“If there are any additional, he would have told us,” Police Chief Norman Williams said.

Rader was planning to kill again – and had even set a date: Oct. 22, Police Chief Norman Williams said Friday. He declined to identify the victim, who lived near the city of Wichita.

Rader’s arrival here in sleepy El Dorado stirred those who call it home.

Jim Demo, a 63-year-old concrete contractor, saw the caravan of vehicles from his vantage at a local doughnut shop, where Rader was the topic of breakfast conversation.

“I don’t want him here,” Demo said.

El Dorado is no stranger to the infamous, though none has been as high-profile as Rader. The prison is home to more than 1,300 inmates, more than 500 of them violent criminals, including Reginald and Jonathan Carr, the brothers convicted of a nine-day crime spree five years ago that left five people dead.

“They have a lot of ‘bad news’ people,” said Robin Lakin, a 40-year-old custodian who lives about a mile from the prison. “But it’s not like we’re going to be seeing him.”

AP-ES-08-19-05 1924EDT


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