Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The BTK Story

Confession: Kathryn Bright

Kathryn Bright
Kathryn Bright

After the Oteros, came the April 4, 1974, murder of Kathryn Bright. When the judge asked how Rader selected her, he explained to the court that he had a number of "projects, different people I followed, watched. Kathryn Bright was one of the next targets…Well, I was just driving by one day and saw her go into the house with somebody else and I thought that was a possibility — there was many places in the area, College Hill, they are all over Wichita — but anyway, it was just basically a selection process, work toward it, if it didn't work, I just move on to something else. But in my kind of person — stalking and trolling — you go through the trolling stage and then stalking stage. She was in the stalking stage when this happened."

He broke into the house and waited for her to come home, not expecting her to have a man with her. He pulled a handgun on them and used the same excuse he used on the Oteros —he was a wanted man, needed a car. He recalled that he had Kevin Bright, Kathryn's brother, tie her up and then Rader tied up Kevin's feet to the bedpost.  

Kevin Bright
Kevin Bright

Then, Rader described what would be almost a comedy of errors had the situation not been fatal. Rader moved Kathryn to another bedroom and then went back to strangle Kevin but Kevin had loosened some of his bonds and started to struggle with Rader. Rader shot him and assumed he was dead. He then went back to strangle Kathryn, but she had not been tied up well and struggled with Rader too. Just as he thought he had Kathryn subdued, he heard Kevin in the other bedroom. When Rader tried to restrangle Kevin, the struggle started again. Kevin tried to get one of the two handguns Rader had with him and almost succeeded, but Rader took the other handgun and shot Kevin again. Believing that Kevin was finally "down for good that time," he went back to "finish the job on Kathryn.   She continued to struggle so Rader stabbed her several times underneath the ribs.

At the same time, he heard Kevin escaping:   "all of a sudden the front door of the house was open and he was gone, and oh, I tell you what I thought: I thought the police were coming at that time, that was it. I stepped out there; I could see him running down the street, so I quickly cleaned up everything that I could and left."

Rader's troubles didn't end there: "I already had the keys to the cars. I thought I had the right keys to the right car. I ran out to their car. I think it was a pickup out there, I tried it... it didn't work. At that point in time he was gone, running down the street and I thought, 'Well, I am in trouble,' so I tried it, it didn't work, so I just took off, ran, went east, and worked back towards the WSU campus where my car was parked."

Judge Waller made a point of asking Rader if he had brought a mask to Kathryn Bright's home. Rader said he did not. With this question, the judge highlights Rader's premeditated intent to kill Kathryn Bright.

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