Kansas Supreme Court affirms Carr brothers death sentences

By KWCH News Staff

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the death sentences of Reginald and Jonathan Carr, brothers from Wichita who were sentenced for a series of crimes in December 2000.

The Carr brothers murdered five people and robbed and kidnapped another in a series of three crimes, culminating in a quadruple murder of four people in east Wichita. One person who was shot in that incident survived.

Each brother was found guilty of multiple offenses, including multiple counts of capital murder. After a separate sentencing proceeding, the jury sentenced the brothers to death.

The Carr brothers appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court, which issued its opinion affirming one capital murder conviction for each brother, among other lesser convictions. The Court, however, vacated the death sentence in each case, concluding that the Carrs Eighth Amendment rights to individualized sentencing were violated in Sedgwick County District Court.

The State sought and was granted a writ of certiorari by the United States Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the joint sentencing proceeding neither implicated the Carrs Eighth Amendment rights nor violated their rights under the due process clause. As a result, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Kansas Supreme Courts decision and remanded the case to the Kansas court to address the appeal considering the U.S. Supreme Courts decision.

On remand, the Kansas Supreme Court reviewed more than 20 penalty phase issues the U.S. Supreme Court had not addressed, including two supplemental state constitutional issues raised after the U.S. Supreme Courts decision.

The Kansas Supreme Court rejected both challenges raised under the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights. The court held that capital punishment does not infringe on the inalienable right to life protected by Section 1.