Advocate pushes to end sale of 'murderabilia' including BTK clothes, tooth fillings

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A website is selling items it claims belonged to serial killer Dennis Rader, or BTK.

Rader's daughter said she just found out the belongings are being sold, in a tweet that has since been deleted. Those items are being sold on a website that sells goods connected to several other serial killers or infamous criminals.

"I'm of the opinion that you shouldn't be able to rob, rape and murder, then turn around and make a buck off of it," said victims' advocate Andy Kahan. "I'm a firm believer in free enterprise and capitalists, but you really have to draw the line somewhere." Kahan is the Director of Victim Services, Victim Advocacy, and Crime Stoppers for Houston, and he's been fighting for victims for 27 years. He coined the term "murderabilia" in 1999.

"You have around seven dealers nationally that, essentially, make a living off of collecting items that are personally obtained from high-profile killers and serial killers, just like we've seen with BTK," Kahan said.

Dennis Rader is being held at the El Dorado Correctional Facility. Now, a website is selling the convicted serial killer's belongings for profit. These items range from prison shirts and shoes, to letters, to rope from Rader's house, to dental crowns. Those crowns are on sale for $6,000.

Wichitans KAKE News spoke with said the thought of someone making money from these items makes them uneasy. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett stated, he is not aware of any Kansas law that would make the transactions illegal.

I am not aware of any Kansas law that would prohibit the selling of property once owned by convicted criminals.   State law prohibits the selling of drugs and stolen property but I am not aware of a crime associated with selling someone's property as long as the property in question is in the legal possession of the seller. 

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett

As for who would spend money on that kind of purchase, Kahan said there's a market for it.

"You know, like it or not, there's small groups of people out there who, for whatever reason, seem to idolize serial killers," Kahan said. "They give them infamy and immortality just like people idolize actors, entertainers."

Kahan said he's fighting to stop these kinds of sales, and he has advocated for new laws against it in several states.

"From a victim's perspective, it is the most nauseating and disgusting feeling in the world, when you find out the person who murdered one of your loved ones now has personalized items hawked by third parties for profit," Kahan said. "Our criminal justice system owes the victims a little mote of dignity and respect by shutting this insidious industry down, and that's what I'm still trying to do."

If you want to see the laws around this changed, or if you think the practice should continue, Kahan said you should write your leaders in the Kansas state government. Meanwhile, Kahan said he will keep pushing for change at the federal level.

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