November 19, 2005

Judge: Rader's jail memos fair game

A judge cleared the way Friday for a lawyer to see documents sent and received by serial killer Dennis Rader while he was in jail.

Under decisions made by Sedgwick County District Judge Timothy Lahey, the lawyer representing the Wegerle, Relford and Dale Fox families —relatives of some of Rader's 10 victims — will get to view the documents.

The victims' families were seeking the information to determine Rader's plans and assets, said their lawyer, James Thompson. Their move is part of wrongful-death litigation against Rader.

Val Wachtel, the lawyer for Kristin Casarona, a Topeka woman who visited Rader and corresponded with him while he was in jail, had objected to the families' move to get the documents.

Wachtel contended that some of the documents belong to Casarona and that she has privacy interests. Casarona is writing a book about Rader.

Lahey ruled that any documents regarding Casarona would have to be reviewed by the court before they could be disclosed.

"Basically we both got what we wanted," Thompson said. "I got the documents I wanted, and he (Wachtel) gets his client protected."

Rader, who confessed last summer to being the BTK strangler, is serving 10 consecutive life sentences.

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