Now that a trial date has been set for the BTK suspect, Dennis Rader's lawyers begin to map out their strategy for a trial.">
Lawyers Begin Preparing Dennis Rader's Defense
May 4 - Now that the BTK suspect is headed to trial, Dennis Rader's attorneys begin mapping out their strategy.
Rader's attorneys have protected their hand from the beginning, including at Tuesday's arraignement. But we might soon know which direction the defense is headed.
In a surprise to many legal experts, lead public defender Steve Osburn announced Tuesday he would not ask for a competency motion for Dennis Rader, but that doesn't mean RAder can't still use insanity as a defense.
Criminal Psychologist Dr. Howard Brodsky says, "If a psychiatric defense is raised then I think we're going to see all kinds of evidence that he was not in control of himself at certain points in his life."
Since Wichita first learned of the serial killer BTK in the 1970's, the killer has sent letters talking about the monster inside of him. One letter said, "I am compelled to kill by factor X." He goes on to say factor X is the same thing that made Son of Sam, Jack the Ripper, the Hillside Strangler and other mass murderers kill.
With Dennis Rader's arraignment behind him, his attorneys have 30 days to file a notice of intent if they plan to use insanity as a defense.
Defense Attorney Warner Eisenbise says, "If this gentleman is BTK and I presume that he's not at this point, BTK indicated that what he did was out of his control. That's the perfect insanity defense."
Eisenbise says in 1996 the state revised its insanity law making it more difficult for defendants to prove insanity. Previously, the test was simply a question of did the person know right from wrong at the time of the murder, and did they understand the consequences of their actions.
Now, a defendant would have to show he or she has a mental disease or defect. Since all of the murders Rader is accused of happened before 1996, he would likely fall under the old insanity law.
The court can make an exception to the 30 day rule, but in most cases the defense does have to file their notice of intent within that time frame.