Discovery will overwhelm Rader's lawyers

Dennis Rader's defense expects to be overwhelmed by the amount of evidence they will have to wade through in the coming months.

It represents a 31-year investigation into 10 killings by a man who nicknamed himself BTK for "bind, torture and kill."

In the justice system, the sharing of the state's evidence with the defendant is called "discovery" and is required by law. And it's one reason Rader waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday morning.

Steve Osburn, lead public defender for Rader, said a preliminary hearing would not have yielded new information from the stacks of investigative material his office has already received from the Sedgwick County district attorney.

Following Rader's arraignment, more will be on the way.

District Attorney Nola Foulston has an open policy of turning over all information relevant to the case.

"After the arraignment, we expect to get all the discovery," Osburn said. "Then we'll have to go through it."

In Topeka on Tuesday, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius proposed adding nearly $405,000 to the state budget to cover costs associated with Rader's defense.

The money would allow the state Board of Indigents Defense Services to hire another attorney, paralegal and investigator to help the three Sedgwick County public defenders handling Rader's case. Also, the extra money would allow Rader's team to hire expert witnesses.

Although information flows freely between the parties in Wichita, local lawyers who have been involved in complex cases say they routinely file discovery motions, just in case.

"The reasoning is, if you don't ask for it and something turns up later, you can't squawk about it," said Wichita lawyer Richard Ney.

The more police reports, notes and statements involved, the more likely something unexpected will pop up.

"You may have a cop come to court with a report nobody knew he had," said Jay Greeno, another Wichita lawyer. "I've seen things thrown out based on that."

Among the items open to discovery will be police reports, notes and witness statements.

"And I would assume all those false leads and other suspects they looked at would be something they'd have to turn over," Ney said.

The defense has a right to inspect physical evidence and to make their own scientific tests, such as to check DNA results.

Greeno said it took a day just to look over the physical evidence in the case of Jonathan and Reginald Carr. Greeno represented Reginald Carr.

"And that wasn't the biggest," Greeno said. "I had a federal drug case where they indicted 21 people, and there was a ton of evidence in that case."