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Law

Victim's son wants Rader bound, tortured, killed

Attends arraignment for suspected BTK killer


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Relford, shown here earlier this year, says he has "no doubt" that suspect Dennis Rader is the BTK killer.
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Man who police say is BTK killer pleads not guilty.
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(CNN) -- For the first time since 1977, Steve Relford came face to face Tuesday with the suspected BTK killer -- this time in court and not in his home.

After attending the Wichita, Kansas, arraignment for suspected killer Dennis Rader, Relford said he hopes Rader suffers the same fate as his victims: "Bind, torture, kill."

"That's what his nickname is, ain't it? That's what I believe should happen to him," Relford told CNN's Paula Zahn.

Relford was just 5 years old when he let the BTK killer into his home March 17, 1977. His mother, Shirley Vian, 24, was bound and slain as he watched -- locked in a bathroom with his two siblings.

Relford said he has "no doubt" the man he saw in court Tuesday was the same person who killed his mother 28 years ago.

"It was very difficult to look at this guy, again. And I know it's him," he said.

Rader, 60, was dressed neatly in a blue suit and shirt for his arraignment. (Full story)

He is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder, slayings that occurred between 1974 and 1991.

Attorneys for Rader asked Judge Greg Waller to enter "the appropriate plea" in a Wichita court, and he entered a plea of not guilty. He set a trial date of June 27, but District Attorney Nola Foulston said that start date would likely be pushed back.

Rader is not eligible for the death penalty because none of the alleged murders occurred after the death penalty was reinstated. Foulston said prosecutors will be asking for what is known in Kansas law as a "hard 40" -- a sentence of life in prison with a mandatory 40 years served.

Relford said he wishes he could meet, one-on-one, with Rader.

"I've got a lot of questions. I wish I could talk to him," he said.

What would he ask Rader?

"Did you kill all these people?" he said. "I want to hear him say that he killed all these people."

He added, "He should have to suffer the way these other people suffered, if not worse."

"BTK" was the killer's self-named reference to his preference to "bind, torture and kill" his victims in the string of murders.

Authorities have said they are certain Rader, president of his Lutheran church council, is the man who terrorized the region with the slayings and taunted authorities and the media with letters and packages he sent them over several years, some with before-and-after photos of the victims.

After an exhaustive investigation, authorities arrested Rader in February. Prior to his arrest, Rader worked for the Wichita suburb of Park City as a compliance supervisor in charge of animal control, nuisances, inoperable vehicles and general code compliance.

Relford's nightmare began on the afternoon of that fateful day in 1977 when his mother, who was not feeling well, sent him to the store to get her soup. As the young boy was returning, he was approached by a man on the street who showed him a picture of a woman and her young child and asked if he knew them. He said no.

After the man entered Relford's home, he corralled the boy and his two siblings into a bathroom. Relford said he stood on the bathtub, peering out an opening, and watched as the BTK killer stripped his mother, taped her hands, put a plastic bag over her head and tied a rope around her neck.

Relford said the killing messed up "my whole life" and led him to a life of drugs and alcohol. "I don't know how to cope with life without alcohol, drugs, something to ease my pain."


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