Thursday, October 2, 2008

BTK - and The Redemption Of Charlie Otero # 4

Charlie was stunned - and angry – when the lawyer finished recounting what he learned. Wichita investigators has failed to share his break in the case with him when it came to light 24 years earlier. “ In these types of investigations, there’s a whole lot you don’t want to let out, ” says retired detective George Scantlin, who worked on the case. “ The initial messages were kept confidential and used as an investigative tool. ”

Still, something didn’t add up for Charlie: How could just one person have subdued his father, an excommando, and his mother and siblings, all of whom had trained in judo? “ I said,”This is bull – I’ll never believe it,” Charlie recalls.
He couldn’t know it yet, but the hunt for BTK would eventually help turn his life around. At the moment, though, his troubles seemed never-ending. Charlie’s wife called the police after an argument and accused him of trying to choke her with a coat hanger. He denied it, but the facing change of attemped murder, he accepted the prosecutor’s bargain and pleaded guilty to aggravated battery. In october 2001, he began 44 –month sentence at Western New Mexico Correctional Facility.

In Prison, Charlie worked as a mechanic and took courses in computer programming and astronomy. He spent hundreds of hours reflecting on his tormented history and even started attending chapel. “I was doing like a revitalisation.”

Charlie spent the 30th aniversary of his family’s murders behind bars. A few weeks later, one of his cellmates called out to him, “Hey, Charlie, your mum’s on TV!” A news programme was reporting that BTK had rssumed his communication with codes message to the Wichita Eagle. Pictures of victims BTK had claimed flashed on screen one by one., including those of Charlie’s parents, sister, and brother. The return of the killer rekindled his rage. “I was like a grenade with the pin pulled,” he recalls.

The next day, Charlie wrote to the producers of American’s Most Wanted, identifying himself as a relative of four of the Wichita victims. They asked him for an interview from prison. Newspaper reporters began calling, too, and a woman who’d seen him on TV volumteered to design a website on which Charlie could field questions about the case.

With the spotlight back on his family, Charlie’s old nightmares – images of his loved one’s screaming faces and tortured bodies – kicked up. But his waking hours held a note of hope. By breaking the silence he’d eveloped himself in for many years, Charlie dreamed of tempting the killer out of hiding. Perhaps, he thought, BTK would leave some DNA on his next letter. “I dare to come for me when I was in prison road crew,” Charlie recalls.”I thought, if he run me over, maybe somebody will see his license plate.”

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