On Thursday a judge ordered the Nebraska Correctional Services Department to release the two drawings by Joubert, whom Nebraska executed in 1996. Joubert killed two Nebraska boys and one in Maine. Lancaster County District Judge Steven Burns heard evidence on June 20.
Author Mark Pettit, who lives in Atlanta, said Friday that he'll be making arrangements with state officials to see the drawings.
"My hope is that I can put them in the updated version of the book, but I can't say without seeing the drawings first," Pettit said. His concern, he said, is whether they're too gruesome or disturbing to be included in "A Need to Kill: The True-Crime Account of John Joubert, Nebraska's Most Notorious Serial Child Killer."
Joubert was convicted of fatally stabbing two Bellevue-area boys, ages 12 and 13, weeks apart in 1983. Following his conviction in Nebraska, a jury in Maine found him guilty in the 1982 slaying of an 11-year-old boy there.
Pettit had contended the public has a compelling interest and a right to see the drawings. He said Joubert told him during a series of prison interviews that he continued to have fantasies about killing children even after being sentenced, and expressed those in two graphic drawings that were confiscated by prison authorities.
Prison system officials had refused to release the drawings, citing confidentiality laws. The department also argued that it had sovereign immunity from such lawsuits.
In his ruling Thursday, Burns noted that Pettit said he intended to have the drawings analyzed by mental health and law enforcement professionals to help them understand Joubert and similar criminals.
Burns said the corrections department had a legitimate interest in restricting access to what could be inflammatory material that "could be detrimental to the control and management of inmates." But Burns also said he found Pettit's intended purpose to be equally legitimate.
"In the end, the court concludes that good cause has been shown for inspection and reproduction of the drawings by the plaintiff," Burns wrote.
The judge gave the department 60 days to provide access to Pettit so he could see them and copy them.
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