Prison urged to limit Rader's contact

10/13/2005 12:00 AM

03/27/2012 4:42 PM

Under a judge's recommendations Wednesday, Dennis Rader could not sit in prison and draw a woman in bondage or read an article about his 10 murders.

And if the judge has his way, Rader will be treated as a sex offender.

Rader is the serial killer who violently carried out his sexual fantasy about bondage. The "B" in "BTK," the name Rader gave himself, stood for "bind them."

The Kansas Department of Corrections wasn't saying Wednesday whether it will heed the findings of Sedgwick County District Judge Greg Waller. The department controls inmates.

Waller presided Wednesday at a court hearing attended by the 60-year-old serial killer at El Dorado Correctional Facility. That is where Rader has begun serving 10 consecutive life sentences.

The hearing's main focus was how Rader should be handled in prison.

It wasn't clear when corrections officials will take up Waller's recommendations or whether they will announce a decision. Department spokeswoman Frances Breyne said the agency had no comment on Wednesday's hearing.

Waller approved all eight recommendations by the prosecutors on how to restrict Rader's access to communication and materials.

Among Waller's findings were that Rader should not be allowed to possess, receive or create: images of humans or animals, including drawings; documents that describe bondage or torture devices; or inanimate objects that could be used to represent humans or animals.

Waller also agreed with the recommendation that Rader not be allowed to view stories about his murders, and that no video and audio recordings of interviews with him be allowed, unless authorized by corrections officials.

The judge said corrections officials could ignore the recommendations.

But District Attorney Nola Foulston said she was "100 percent" confident the corrections department would follow Waller's recommendations.

Foulston and other prosecutors on her staff argued that as long as Rader could fuel his fantasies about bondage and violence, he would pose a danger to others in the prison.

Kim Parker, the chief deputy district attorney, said the restrictions were needed because Rader could turn almost anything into pornography, and because "Mr. Rader was very interested in the public attention he got."

But Steve Osburn, the chief public defender, contended that the restrictions were too broad and too difficult to enforce.

The limitations would require corrections officers to censor all of Rader's mail and his access to television and newspapers, Osburn said.

One of the privileges inmates can earn through good behavior is being able to watch TV. The restrictions would remove Rader's incentive to be a good inmate, Osburn said.

"Dennis has nothing to lose by acting out at that point. They have nothing to take away from him."

Another point of contention was whether Waller should recommend that Rader be considered a pedophile. Parker noted that Rader had become sexually stimulated when he killed 11-year-old Josie Otero and that he collected images of children cut out from advertisements.

Osburn said most of Rader's victims were older and that Rader shouldn't be considered someone who targeted children.

Declaring that Rader is a pedophile would endanger him, Osburn said, because inmates often target prisoners who have preyed on children.

"That finding alone basically puts a bull's eye on Mr. Rader here in this facility," Osburn said.

In finding that Rader should be considered a sex offender, Waller never used the word "pedophile."

On another matter, Waller ordered that Rader pay about $42,000 in restitution. Waller also is considering whether to award about $7,000 more in restitution. Those amounts are separate from pending civil suits filed against Rader by the victims' families.

Osburn said the amount of restitution was moot because Rader would never be able to pay the money.

But Foulston raised the possibility of Rader writing a book.

"I don't think he should profit from his... conduct," she said.

On another matter, Waller ordered that more than 1,300 DNA swabs collected during the BTK investigation be destroyed. The swabs were taken to eliminate suspects.

Some defense lawyers raised concerns about what they considered a "swab-a-thon" of innocent people. After Wednesday's hearing, Deputy District Attorney Kevin O'Connor defended the swabbing. He noted that nearly all of the men voluntarily gave their DNA.

Destroying the DNA answers privacy concerns, he said, adding that the DNA information was not entered into a database.

Another issue Wednesday involved personal items that belonged to BTK victims that have remained in police custody over the years.

For example, police still have some of the toys that belonged to the children of Shirley Vian, strangled in her home by Rader in 1977.

Waller ruled that the personal items will remain in police custody until Rader's appeals process has been completed.

As she left the prison building Wednesday, Foulston said she had faith that corrections officials will keep Rader under close watch.

For his security, she said, he remains by himself in a small cell 23 hours a day. For one hour, he can go to an enclosure in an exercise yard.

Each time he leaves his cell, she said, it is checked for contraband.

The unusual court hearing, which lasted a little less than two hours, was held in a locked videoconference room behind other locked doors at the heavily secured prison.

The session was not open to the public, and corrections officials restricted media access.

Prison officers brought Rader into the room with handcuffs attached to his waist, and he wore a dark brown shirt and matching pants and blue pull-on tennis shoes.

He looked down at the carpet, slowly smacking his lips, occasionally sighing.

But at times he peered at Waller or the lawyers and seemed to pay attention. During a recess, he briefly smiled while talking to one of his public defenders, Sarah McKinnon.

Join the Discussion

The Wichita Eagle is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service