Archive for Thursday, April 21, 2005

Lawmakers endorse spending plan for BTK trial

April 21, 2005

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— The BTK serial killings in Wichita became an issue Wednesday for legislators, with a House committee endorsing a proposal to spend $405,000 to help the defense of the man accused of the crimes.

The Appropriations Committee decided to allocate $80,573 in the current budget for Dennis Rader's defense and an additional $324,126 in the spending plan for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius recommended spending the money.

Rader faces 10 counts of first-degree murder in Sedgwick County in the strangling and torture killings that began in 1974 and continued for 17 years. BTK is the nickname the killer gave himself, meaning "Bind, Torture, Kill."

Rader, 60, is a former ordinance enforcement officer in Park City, a Wichita suburb. He is represented by three court-appointed public defenders.

"We realize there are extensive costs," said Rep. Bob Bethell, R-Alden. "We can't shirk the responsibility of paying the attorney who represents him."

The money would go to the state Board of Indigents Defense Services, which supervises legal representation for defendants who cannot afford attorneys.

The proposal is part of the House's final budget bill for the year.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee plans to begin meeting Thursday to draft its own version of the budget bill. The entire Legislature reconvenes Wednesday.

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