- Associated Press - Saturday, June 21, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The author of a book about an executed Nebraska child killer has high hopes that a judge will order the state’s prison system to release the condemned man’s disturbing drawings.

A one-day trial was held Friday in Lincoln on Mark Pettit’s lawsuit against the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services that seeks to force the department to turn over the drawings by John Joubert, who was executed in the state’s electric chair in 1996.

Lancaster County District Judge Steven Burns overruled the department’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, rejecting its argument that it had sovereign immunity from such lawsuits. The judge is now considering both sides’ arguments in the case.

Pettit said Saturday that his attorney expects a ruling within 30 days.

Pettit is the author of “A Need to Kill: The True-Crime Account of John Joubert, Nebraska’s Most Notorious Serial Child Killer.” He has been trying for more than 25 years to get the prison system to release two drawings in which Joubert said he depicted his fantasies to kill again.

Prison system officials have refused to release the drawings, citing confidentiality laws.

Joubert was executed for the fatal stabbings of two Bellevue-area boys, ages 12 and 13, weeks apart in 1983. Following his conviction in Nebraska, a jury in Maine found him guilty of murder in the 1982 slaying of an 11-year-old boy there.

Pettit contends that the public has a compelling interest and a right to see the drawings. He says Joubert told him during a series of prison interviews that he continued to have fantasies about killing children even after being sentenced, Pettit said. He said Joubert expressed the fantasies in two graphic drawings that were confiscated by prison authorities.

“I think those drawings prove that Joubert would have killed again if ever he had been released from prison,” Pettit said. “That’s why I think they should be made public.”

Pettit wants the drawings analyzed by a forensic psychiatrist and the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit.

Pettit has never seen the drawings, which were submitted into evidence Friday under seal.

But the prison system director described the drawings on the witness stand, Pettit said.

“He described them as two young boys kneeling with their hands and feet bound, blindfolded, and a male standing above one stabbing him with a knife,” Pettit said. “He said it did appear that blood was depicted in the drawings.”

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