Judge Greg Waller will allow Roger Valadez’s lawyers, but for now not Valadez, to find out why BTK investigators raided Valadez’s home and took his DNA last December. The Sedgwick County district judge wants the lawyers representing Valadez in civil and criminal cases to get with a prosecutor to review the affidavits for search warrants executed last December.
Waller ordered Friday that the lawyers should see if they can agree what information needs to be removed to protect the identity of the police informant who apparently connected Valadez to the infamous BTK strangler. Wichita police said they were acting on a tip relating to the BTK case when they and KBI agents burst into Valadez’s home, took a sample of Valadez’s DNA, booked him into custody and then searched his house. But authorities have never publicly acknowledged Valadez was a BTK suspect.
Two months later, police arrested Dennis Rader, who confessed to being BTK, pleaded guilty to killing 10 people and was sentenced to life in prison. For the past nine months, Valadez has tried to see the sworn affidavits that persuaded Waller to sign the warrants.
Assistant Sedgwick County District Attorney Kevin O’Connor stressed to Waller that the person who tipped off police should remain anonymous. “It is the public policy of this state to protect police informants,” O’Connor said. O’Connor also told the court that the affidavits contain information, “that, frankly, I don’t think Mr. Valadez wants to see.”
That suggestion irked Dan Monnat, Valadez’s lawyer. “To Roger, saying ‘you don’t want to know the truth’ sounds an awful lot like ‘we don’t want you to know the truth,’ ” Monnat said afterward.
Kansas is one of the only states in America where arrest and search warrant affidavits remain sealed after they are executed. Other states cross out identities of police informants and details of other confidential investigative procedures, then release the documents.
Waller allowed Monnat, O’Connor and Craig Shultz, who represents Valadez in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against one Wichita television station, to see the documents. They are to try to agree on what information to take out regarding the tipster.
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The Wichita Eagle – By Ron Sylvester