Life Prison Sentence Silences BTK
In this Nov, 6, 1979, file photo, the Bee Gees from left, Maurice, Robin and Barry Gibb sing close into the microphone at a Miami Beach concert in Miami. November 6, 1979. A representative said on Sunday, May 20, 2012, that Robin Gibb has died. He was 62. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin, File) / Phil Sandlin
But as family members of the victims took their turn at the microphone Thursday to confront the killer during his sentencing hearing, Rader could do nothing but listen as they vented their anger.
"I can think of nothing but savoring the bittersweet taste of revenge as justice is served upon this social sewage here before us today," said Jeff Davis, whose mother was strangled by Rader.
Beverly Plapp, sister of victim Nancy Fox, said Rader should "never, ever see the light of day. ... On the day he dies, Nancy and all of his victims will be waiting with God and watching him as he burns in hell."
A former church congregation president and Boy Scout leader, Rader is to arrive Friday at the El Dorado prison to begin serving a minimum of 175 years without a chance of parole. The sentence was the longest that Judge Gregory Waller could order him to serve; Kansas had no death penalty at the time of the murders.
Although the two-day sentencing hearing was a formality — the man who called himself BTK for "bind, torture and kill" was virtually guaranteed a life sentence — it allowed family members to confront Rader for the first time in court.
But, as CBS News 60 Minutes correspondent Erin Moriarty told The Early Show's Julie Chen, it also included a rambling, sometimes-tearful statement from the killer, who apologized to his victims.
"A dark side is there, but now I think light is beginning to shine," Rader said, his voice choking at times. Moriarty reports that for the first time in any courtroom appearance, Rader appeared to be moved, and said he wasn't the same man who killed 10 people, and terrorized Wichita for more than three decades. "People will say I'm not a Christian, but I believe I am."
Rader, 60, went through the list of his 10 victims one by one, drawing comparisons between him and them. He talked about victims who liked dogs when they were kids — just like him. He talked about how one of his child victims reminded him of his kids. He talked about how one victim went to his high school, albeit at a different time. (Watch extended video clips from the courtroom.)
"I know the victims' families will never be able to forgive me. I hope somewhere deep down, eventually that will happen," he said.
Some family members walked out of court during Rader's half-hour of testimony. Jeff Davis called his speech a "pathetic, rambling diatribe."
"It's beyond comprehension. It was that pathetic," he said at a news conference with other family members. "He just nauseates me. I just want them to put the cockroach away."
If Rader's bizarre testimony puzzled the courtroom with its mostly detached air, that wasn't the affect the serial killer intended. Moriarty reported last week for CBSNews.com that Rader told her in a face-to-face interview that he planned to deliver an emotional speech meant to garner sympathy.
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