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Papers to limit Rader not filed

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, March 14, 2007, at 8:24 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at 4:47 p.m.

More than two months after a judge recommended that serial killer Dennis Rader have strict limits on what he can read, write and see in prison, corrections officials have yet to formally consider them — let alone implement them.

That's because even though the Oct. 12 hearing was held at El Dorado Correctional Facility, the Kansas Department of Corrections has yet to receive the certified document spelling out the recommendations, agency spokeswoman Frances Breyne said Friday.

The document was filed in Sedgwick County District Court on Oct. 31, but was not sent out until Friday, after The Eagle asked about it. District Court Clerk Susan Tanner said her staff has now faxed a copy to El Dorado Correctional Facility, where on Aug. 19 Rader began serving 10 consecutive life sentences for the BTK serial killings. A certified copy was being mailed, she said.

Georgia Mason, mother of one of Rader's victims, Nancy Fox, said she was disappointed that the crucial paperwork hadn't been sent sooner —"as important as this was to us."

Corrections officials need the certified document before they can formally consider it, Breyne said. Once that version arrives, the department's legal team and the secretary of corrections and deputy secretary will decide whether to accept any of the recommendations. When they will make their decision isn't clear.

The Sedgwick County District Court clerk's office receives thousands of documents, which are processed in order unless someone flags something to be expedited — and that apparently didn't happen in this case, Tanner said.

"We would have reacted," she said. "We haven't dropped the ball."

Neither District Judge Greg Waller, who handled Rader's case, nor District Attorney Nola Foulston said they were bothered by the time it has taken. Waller said the clerk's office has staffing limitations.

Foulston said of her office: "We probably wish that it had gotten there sooner, but as I said, no harm, no foul."

The clerk's office is "inundated with paperwork each and every day," Foulston said. "Perhaps it should have been expedited. Who knows why it wasn't?"

Foulston said she is confident that Rader "is under scrutiny 24 hours a day" at the prison. He is in a cell by himself 23 hours a day.

In the Oct. 12 hearing, Waller approved recommendations sought by prosecutors that would restrict Rader's access to reading and writing materials and television.

Foulston said corrections officials know of authorities' concerns about Rader, who confessed to killing 10 people from 1974 to 1991 and said he was driven by sexual fantasies involving bondage.

To feed those fantasies, he collected advertisements and fantasized about the people pictured in them, some of them children. He drew pictures of torture chambers and women in bondage.

One of the recommendations is that Rader not be able to read, view or listen to media accounts of his crimes.

Foulston said she doubts Rader is able to read about himself in prison now.

Breyne said because of privacy and security concerns, she couldn't comment on any specific restrictions Rader might be under.

She confirmed that he can receive mail.

Mason, the mother of Nancy Fox, said Fox's family would like to know more about the conditions of Rader's confinement.

"I think it would ease the family members if we kinda knew," Mason said.

"I want him punished to the fullest they can do."

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