BTK killer’s daughter defends Alex Murdaugh’s surviving son Buster

The daughter of the infamous BTK serial killer has called for people to leave Alex Murdaugh’s surviving son Buster alone.

Kerri Rawson told NewsNation that the 26-year-old son of Maggie and Alex Murdaugh is also “a victim” in the brutal murders of his mother and brother Paul and needs to be given space to “process and grieve”.

“He needs to be respected right now. He needs time to process and grieve and when he’s ready to talk, he will,” she said.

“We have to respect that he is a victim. He lost his mother and his brother in a violent and horrific crime and then sat in court for weeks and had to listen to details down to what happened to his brother’s brains.

“And then be on the stand and watch his father go on the stand and now his father has been sentenced to two life sentences.”

Her comments come after Buster filed a police report claiming that he was being harassed by members of the media after his father was sentenced to life in prison for the brutal 7 June 2021 murders.

In the police report, filed with Beaufort County Sheriff’s office on Sunday, Buster complained about photos which appeared in the New York Post, showing him and his girlfriend Brooklynne White inside his Hilton Head home.

The couple told officers that they had reviewed ring camera video and noticed a suspicious grey Dodge Challenger outside the home on Saturday evening.

Buster believes that the occupant of the vehicle took the photos which later ended up in the Post, the report said.

Sometime later, Ms White contacted the sheriff’s office again to report that the vehicle was following them as they drove off Hilton Head.

Officers pulled the vehicle over for speeding and making an improper lane change and found the driver had a camera bag inside the car.

The driver received a warning about a traffic violation.

The sheriff’s office said they would also increase patrols around Buster’s home.

Buster has fallen under the spotlight as he supported his father every day at his trial for the murders of his mother and brother.

The 26-year-old took the stand in his father’s defence, telling jurors how Murdaugh was “destroyed” in the aftermath of the killings.

His testimony marked the first and only time he has ever spoken out about the murders or his father’s string of crimes.

As the daughter of serial killer Dennis Rader – also known as BTK – Ms Rawson empathised with Buster as a victim whose parent carried out a heinous crime.

“I think right now people need to leave him and his family alone if they are not wanting to do media,” she said.

“Buster is clearly asking for respect and privacy right now.”

Ms Rawson said there are differences between her experience and Buster’s.

The Murdaugh family was well-known in Hampton County, South Carolina, long before the murders, with three generations of the family reigning over the lowcountry’s justice system.

Buster Murdaugh, the son of Alex Murdaugh, listens as Alex Murdaugh’s verdict is read out (AP)
Buster Murdaugh, the son of Alex Murdaugh, listens as Alex Murdaugh’s verdict is read out (AP)

“I went through so much but my family wasn’t prominent,” she said.

Ms Rawson also pointed out that Murdaugh continues to claim his innocence – despite the damning evidence placing him at the crime scene.

By contrast, her father confessed to murdering his victims on the night of his arrest “so we knew he was guilty”.

Rader – who dubbed himself the “bind torture kill” killer in letters to the Kansas media – was suddenly arrested in 2005 for a string of murders, some of them before she was even born.

He confessed to killing 10 victims over the three decades and was sentenced to 10 consecutive life sentences.

While Buster is a victim of his mother and brother’s murders, his father’s conviction has led to renewed speculation about a mysterious 2015 death of 19-year-old Stephen Smith.

Smith, an openly gay teenager who was a classmate of Buster’s, was found dead in the middle of a road in Hampton County back in 2015.

He had suffered blunt force trauma to the head and his car was left down the road.

His death was officially ruled a hit-and-run but the victim’s family – and investigators who worked on the initial case – have long doubted this version of events saying he appeared to have been beaten to death.

The BTK killer Dennis Rader
The BTK killer Dennis Rader

There have long been murmurings in the community that a “Murdaugh boy” may have been involved and the Murdaugh name came up 40 times in documents in the initial case, reported Live5News.

Just days after the murders of Maggie and Paul, SLED announced that the investigation into their murders had led them to reopen an investigation into Smith’s death.

As Murdaugh was led out of Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro after being sentenced to life in prison on Friday, a bystander shouted that “Buster is next” for “justice” – an apparent reference to the Smith case.

“Because we don’t know his involvement anywhere else he is innocent until proven guilty and nothing has even been alleged or charged here,” said Ms Rawson.

“We have to respect that he is a victim,” she said, adding that it is “pure speculation at this point”.

It is not clear what may have prompted SLED to launch an investigation six years on from Smith’s death.

In January 2023, SLED said it had “made progress” in the case but no other details have been released.