Saturday, March 05, 2005

Could DNA and a confession not be enough?

Even though Dennis Rader has confessed to authorities that he killed at least 10 people in the BTK string of killings (thereby saying that he is, in fact, BTK), and police linked his DNA (via his daughter) to some of the crime scenes, it may not be enough to convict him, according to legal observers quoted in The Wichita Eagle on Friday.

The fact is that in the 1970s, when many of the murders linked to BTK were committed, there was no way to test DNA for matches, so people didn't know how or when to collect it. But sometimes, they did collect items that had bodily fluids on them and put them into evidence bags. Oftentimes, though, since they didn't know exactly how to handle DNA evidence at that time, it was cross-contaminated with other samples, making it impossible to link to any one individual.

In some of the BTK murder cases, however, evidence that was collected was actually handled properly and stored correctly so that much of it was still viable. But there are a lot of people who doubt the accuracy of the testing because they can't be 100 percent sure that the evidence collected was handled or stored in a way that would be useful now.

Now, Rader started talking to the police shortly after his arrest last Friday. After a lawyer visited him, he stopped. Apparently, confessions may not carry as much weight as you might think. Sometimes, for some stupid reason most of us wouldn't understand, people confess to crimes that they really didn't do. I guess they just get tired of being interrogated for days on end, and finally break down rather than continue the interrogation process. But in Rader's case, he confessed right away. Why would he do that if he weren't guilty?

According to an Eagle source, "People can be coerced into falsely confessing by being denied access to lawyers, ministers or family members." But Rader has a lawyer, has visited with his pastor a number of times, and is supposed to be able to see his family this next week. From what the public knows (which isn't much at this point), he was never interrogated for 22 or 24 hours at a time, which is what sources say make some innocent people confess to crimes they didn't commit.

What makes him look more guilty is that he told the police at the jail he's in that if given a chance, he'll make a run for it. Because of that, he's kept in a cell away from other prisoners, and if he has to move away from his cell, he's put in handcuffs and shackles and is escorted by at least two officers who don't let go of him at any time.

Many of the communications between BTK and media before Rader's arrest suggested that BTK wants his story to be heard. He left clues as to who he was for police to decifer, and they make sense now when related to Rader.

How could Dennis Rader not be BTK? All of the information that has come out since his arrest seems to suggest that it's him. Even I am leaving out a lot of information in these posts about Rader, but from what you have learned, do you honestly think that BTK could be someone other than Rader? I don't. (Ron, my loving husband, please don't respond to this question. We all know what you think.)

1 comment:

Nick said...

In other Wichita Eagle news, WIWAP was quoted in the Eagle talking about his relationship with BTK.