Kansas court records sealed in killer’s release

Wooden gavel placed on a block, isolated on a background

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A Shawnee County judge has sealed court records in the case of a man who was committed to a mental hospital after killing a woman in 2001 and has since been moved to a Topeka facility.

Lee McGowan, senior assistant Shawnee County district attorney, told The Topeka Capital Journal that Judge Evelyn Wilson on Wednesday ordered court records sealed in the case of Hal Bates, who was committed to a mental hospital after beating 85-year-old Elizabeth Cowperthwaite of Topeka to death in 2001.

McGowan is contesting a Pawnee County judge’s order earlier this year releasing Bates to a Topeka nursing facility for mental health.

McGowan says Wilson sealed the court records after an attorney representing Bates filed a motion seeking to close court proceedings regarding Bates’ move to Topeka.

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