Background and Occupations As a child, Dennis Rader appeared outwardly normal and unremarkable, but by his own admission, he says he developed fantasies about bondage, control and torture from an early age. According to MacDonald triad theory (Hickey), we can find in Rader’s childhood animal cruelty episodes, he killed cats as by hanging them. Dennis Rader from his youth learned how to live in two worlds, the conventional, social realm everyone lives in and his own private world of torture and death.He married, had two children, had stable jobs and graduated from University.He was an active member of the church and boy scouts. He was considered a normal man with a regular life. Although some referred to him as a kind of bully when he was working for Park City as a compliance supervisor.In contrast with Hickey findings that nearly two thirds of serial killer have a prior incarceration episode, Dennis Rader had no criminal history on his background.
Fantasy Psychopathy and Paraphilia The fantasies he had during his youth weregrowing, he finally became a Lust killer, and in several years he killed as many as 10 known victims.Paraphilia are very common to serial killers (Hickey), Rader was sexually stimulated by his victims’ suffering, throughstrangulation or asphyxiation he could enjoytheir deaths and then masturbate over them, he never penetrated them. (Immature, Hickey)
These sexual acts and the killings were vehicles to keep and maintain control and power over victims and him. Hickey suggests that there are various cases of serial killers who derive their sexual pleasure from watching their victim suffer and die. Rader fulfill several criteria of the Psychopaths according to Hickey; lack of empathy, absence of remorse for his victim’s sufferings, he was narcissistic and aggressive, he had a grandiose sense of self worth, he was manipulative, he tried by speaking to his victims to convince them to cooperate on their own end. He had a strong desire to be important and dominate on the others. All these traits are recognized as common in serial offenders by Hickey.
Mobility and Victimization His victims were strangers or acquaintances, he killed in a local area, he waited for them in their homes. He basically expected victims in their own homes and used the element of surprise to take control over them. Victims targeted were women or young girls, males were mainly killed only because were obstacles to him. In America in the recent years nearly two thirds of all victims were killed by local killers.Killing at home or work offered him a great degree of invisibility (Hickey) Young Females ranked highest in the preferences.
Motives, methods and Modus Operandi Sadistic sexual fantasies and exert power over his victims are the drive forces to his killings, he tried to replicate the satisfaction achieved with the first victims, and kept on killing, adjusting his MO in order not to fail. He also was habitual in collecting souvenir from them, personal victim’s objects and pictures of the victims. He fantasized on them and repeat the experiences, he could thus revive the murder His preferred methods were strangulation or asphyxiation, by using ropes scarves and plastic bags on them, in some cases he hanged them or shot with a gun. The pleasure was derived from strangle women (signature) he could feel a great sexual arousal he then masturbated. His Modus Operandi has changed, as he adjusted it and learned better how to kill and be effective (kit), and eventually changes the disposal site of one body in order to throw police out of his identification. (Hickey)
HOW HE WAS ARRESTED? 30 YEARS of task forces and investigation did not produce the discovery of his responsibilities. Only because Rader wanted to be famous, and continually contacted Media and Police to announce or take credits over his murders his arrest was possible, Hickey in facts says that “ contrary to some claims serial killers do no wish to be caught, although some do, …serial killers allow themselves to be caught because their need for recognition over whelms their desire to remain hidden” Serial offenders are most likely to receive a life sentence without parole, and in a lower measure they receive death sentence. (Hickey) Rader received 174 years without parole.
CLASSIFICATION According to Hickey’s criteria, Rader can be considered a lust killer, organized and power control oriented, psychopathic, with a narcissistic personality, suffering a form of paraphilia.He was a sadistic cold blood killer, he managed to have an apparent normal social life, while he carefully prey for his victims. Most of his characteristics are described in the study of Hickey as common to several percentages of serial killers he analyzed, with the exception of absence of childhood abuse or abandonment and previous criminal records in his background.