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Reginald Dexter Carr, Jr. - Kansas Death Row - Page 6
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Thread: Reginald Dexter Carr, Jr. - Kansas Death Row

  1. #51
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Kansas Supreme Court issues questions in Carr brothers’ cases

    The long-simmering question of whether Jonathan and Reginald Carr will receive the death penalty has reached a new stage – with the Kansas Supreme Court issuing 18 questions for attorneys on both sides.

    The questions, filed in an order by the state’s high court late Friday, appear to deal not with whether the two brothers are guilty of some of the most notorious multiple murders in Wichita’s history but with whether they should be sentenced to die. The court’s questions, signed by Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, focus on such things as:

    ▪ whether the trial judge erred by excluding “mitigating” evidence that would argue against a death sentence and by denying some defense testimony.

    ▪ whether the death penalty is “an unconstitutionally disproportionate punishment” for “aiders and abettors.”

    ▪ whether Kansas’ execution protocol protects against “unnecessary pain.”

    ▪ whether state law requires separate penalty proceedings for the defendants. The U.S. Supreme Court has already found that the two brothes didn’t need separate penalty proceedings under the U.S. Constitution.

    The Carrs were convicted of robbing, raping, kidnapping and shooting five people – four of whom died – in Wichita in 2000. They were sentenced to death in 2002.

    The Carrs’ attorneys couldn’t be reached Monday.

    Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett, whose office is continuing to prosecute the Carrs, said Monday that he wasn’t surprised by the court’s questions, that it is part of the painstaking death-penalty process.

    “I guess the only thing I’m reading into this is the Kansas Supreme Court wants to make sure that every ‘t’ is crossed, every ‘i’ is dotted,” Bennett told The Eagle by phone.

    Bennett said he recognizes that some people are going to be irritated that the justice system seems to move so slowly on death-penalty cases. But the new stage in the Carrs’ cases should not be used by either side in debate over whether the state should use capital punishment, Bennett said.

    “This is how it works,” he said. “It’s slow. I’m not upset by this; I’m not encouraged by this.”

    In January the U.S. Supreme Court put the Carrs’ cases back in the hands of the Kansas Supreme Court, ruling that that the brothers’ death sentences were wrongfully overturned.

    Now, the state’s high court is having to deal with issues that remain unresolved, Bennett said. Hence, the questions issued late Friday. It’s another chance for attorneys on both sides to weigh in.

    The “bottom line is there is no fast track to the death chamber and probably shouldn’t be,” Bennett said.

    One thing that is taking Kansas longer, Bennett said, is that the Sunflower State has relatively few death-penalty cases compared to others, such as Texas. Kansas is still working through the process.

    http://www.kansas.com/news/local/cri...#storylink=cpy

  2. #52
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    Family Members Of Carr Brothers Victims Want To Oust Kansas Supreme Court Justices

    A group of family members and friends of those killed by the Carr brothers are kicking off a campaign to unseat four Kansas Supreme Court justices. The justices face a retention election on the ballot this fall.

    Amy Scott James was the girlfriend of Brad Heyka, one of the victims of the Carr brothers. She says the Kansas Supreme Court didnt follow the states death penalty law when the justices overturned the death sentences for Jonathan and Reginald Carr. James says that was proven when the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the Kansas courts decision.

    If I dont do my job, I get fired. If they dont do their job, they just go back to their offices and keep getting paid. Its time for someone to stand up and say something, James says.

    The Carr brothers were convicted of murdering five people in 2000 during a Wichita crime spree.

    The Kansas Supreme Court overturned the death sentences and some of the murder convictions for the Carr brothers in 2014 because the justices said there were problems during the trial and sentencing.

    Vinny DiGiovanni, the brother-in-law of Brad Heyka, says he was awestruck and angry when the Kansas justices made that ruling.

    The majority of Kansans decided that the death penalty is law in the state, and it should not be up to the Kansas Supreme Court justices to revoke that law, DiGiovanni says.

    Joyce Morrison, with Kansans for Fair Courts, says the justices should keep their job. She says the Kansas Supreme Courts decision didnt let the Carr brothers out of prison, and theyll stay there until theyre executed or die behind bars.

    Morrison calls the crimes in the case horrific, but says the state needs a stable court.

    This process is difficult, and its time-consuming, but its careful. Thats the kind of system that we want to keep in Kansas, Morrison says. We need our justices to remain fair and impartial and be able to do their job without the political winds trying to shift their opinions.

    http://kmuw.org/post/family-members-...court-justices
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  3. #53
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    What courts did in the Carr brothers case; what's next

    Jonathan and Reginald Carr’s capital murder cases – and the overturning of their death sentences by the Kansas Supreme Court in 2014 – have become the focal point of one effort to oust four justices from the bench this November.

    Kansans for Justice says it is dedicated to persuading voters to mark “No” on the retention ballots for Lawton Nuss, Marla Luckert, Carol Beier and Dan Biles. The group contends the justices failed to follow their oaths to uphold Kansas law when they vacated death sentences for the Carrs and other Kansas inmates only to have their rulings reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Others say overturned death sentences are common when capital punishment laws are new and signal that the court system is functioning as intended.

    The complex legal rulings – followed by statements and ads in the campaigns to oust or keep the justices – have led to misconceptions about the case and the Carrs.

    The brothers remain in solitary confinement at El Dorado Correctional Facility, where capital punishment inmates are housed. They’ve been imprisoned since they were convicted in 2002. They remain convicted of most of their crimes.

    Here’s an explanation of what the courts did in the Carrs’ criminal cases, as well as some information about what’s next.

    The crimes

    Brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr were 20 and 23 years old when they murdered five Wichitans and terrorized two others during a nine-day crime spree in December 2000.

    In the first of the assaults, Reginald Carr carjacked and robbed a 23-year-old Wichita man at gunpoint on Dec. 7. Four days later, both brothers followed Wichita symphony cellist Linda Ann Walenta home and shot her when she tried to escape; she died about a month later.

    The most shocking of their crimes — and the ones that led to their death sentences — were the repeated sexual assaults, robbery, torture and killings of a group of friends on Dec. 14 and 15.

    Jason Befort, 26; Brad Heyka, 27; Aaron Sander, 29; Heather Muller, 25; and a woman known publicly by her initials H.G. were at 12727 Birchwood when the Carrs burst in with handguns and a golf club late on Dec. 14. They demanded the friends strip and perform sex acts on one another, raped the women and then forced the friends to withdraw cash from several ATMs.

    After three hours of assault, the Carrs drove the five friends to a snow-covered soccer field near K-96 and Greenwich, ordered them to kneel and shot them all execution-style. The Carrs ran over their bodies with a pickup truck when they left.

    H.G. survived because her hair clip deflected the bullet fired at her. She ran naked for more than a mile to a house and called 911.

    Authorities arrested the Carrs in Wichita not long after the bodies were found.

    Muller was a Wichita State University student, Befort was an Augusta High School teacher, Heyka worked for Koch Industries, and Sander planned to become a priest, according to The Eagle’s news archives.

    The trial


    Prosecutors charged each of the Carrs with a litany of crimes — including four counts of capital murder for killing Befort, Heyka, Muller and Sander — and sought the death penalty.

    The brothers went on trial together before a Sedgwick County jury in the two-phase format required in capital punishment trials. In the first part, the jurors convicted the brothers of a total of 93 criminal counts.

    In the second part — called the penalty or sentencing phase — jurors unanimously voted to give each Carr four death sentences. They listened for weeks as prosecutors argued and presented evidence in favor of execution. Defense attorneys, meanwhile, asked jurors to be lenient and impose a more merciful sentence of prison.

    In addition to the death sentences, the brothers each received life prison sentences plus more than 40 years for their other crimes. The Carrs had asked the presiding judge, the late Paul Clark, to sentence them separately, but the judge refused.

    What the Kansas Supreme Court did

    In Kansas, death penalty cases receive an automatic review from the Kansas Supreme Court. It’s the first of three types of appeals defendants can use to overturn their convictions and sentences.

    The Carrs raised dozens of issues over things they thought were unfair at their trials. Among issues argued were that the brothers should be granted new, separate trials. Attorneys claimed the brothers damaged each other’s defenses during the joint trial; Jonathan Carr’s attorney also contended Reginald Carr’s courtroom “antics” turned jurors against her client.

    The attorneys also speculated that jurors may have thrown out evidence favoring a lenient sentence— called mitigating factors — because jury instructions given by the judge were silent about what standard of proof to apply to them. The instructions, however, did tell jurors that prosecutors’ evidence in support of a death sentences — called aggravated factors — must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The Kansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the appeals in 2013. It handed down its 6-1 ruling in July 2014.

    Although the justices identified 11 errors made during the sentencing phase of the Carr brothers’ trial, a majority said that “pales in comparison to the strength of evidence against the defendants.”

    The court upheld 32 of Reginald Carr’s 50 convictions and 25 of Jonathan Carr’s 43 convictions, including one capital murder conviction for each brother.

    But it threw out the others, including three of the four capital murder convictions for each, citing errors. Because the capital murder convictions were struck down, the three death sentences tied to them were vacated, too.

    The court ended up vacating the fourth death sentence given to each brother amid concerns the Carrs’ constitutional rights had been violated because they were not sentenced by different juries. Justices also said juries should be told what standard of proof to apply to a defendant’s mitigating factors.

    The Kansas Supreme Court sent both cases back to Sedgwick County District Court with orders that the brothers be resentenced.

    What the U.S. Supreme Court did

    Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision in August 2014. The high court agreed to look at two issues: whether a joint sentencing is constitutional and whether judges have to tell juries specifically what standard of proof to apply to a defendant’s mitigating factors.

    Both issues touch on the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

    In January, three months after hearing oral arguments, the U.S. Supreme Court said the Carrs’ death sentences were wrongly vacated. It reversed the Kansas Supreme Court ruling 8-1.

    In its opinion, penned by the late Antonin Scalia, the court rejected arguments that co-defendants should be sentenced separately and said the Constitution doesn’t require a jury instruction that specifies the standard of proof for mitigating factors.

    Scalia added that directions given to the jury were not unclear, and that individual jurors weighing evidence will accord mercy to a defendant if they deem it appropriate and withhold it if they do not.

    The U.S. Supreme Court sent the cases back to the Kansas Supreme Court for further consideration.

    What’s next

    At some point, the Kansas Supreme Court will again consider the Carrs’ appeals and issue another ruling.

    That ruling can’t go against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions about the jury instruction and joint sentencing. It’s possible the justices could strike down the Carrs’ death sentences a second time for other reasons.

    If that happens, the U.S. Supreme Court could be asked to review the cases again.

    Or, the Kansas Supreme Court could decide to uphold the death sentences, which would end the brothers’ first round of appeals.

    It’s unclear when that will happen.

    But whatever happens, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said, the Carrs won’t get out of prison.

    “We’re still before the Kansas Supreme Court resolving remaining issues,” he said in a recent phone interview.

    “We might have to go redo the sentencing phase” for the brothers, which would require empaneling a new jury and calling witnesses back to the stand to testify. But, he said, “affirming the guilty verdicts basically ensured these guys will never get out.”

    http://www.kansas.com/news/local/cri...#storylink=cpy
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  4. #54
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Top Kansas Court to Revisit Death Penalty in Wichita Murders

    The Kansas Supreme Court is considering for a second time whether to spare two brothers from being executed for four murders in Wichita in December 2000

    By John Hannah
    The Associated Press

    TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Supreme Court is considering for a second time whether to spare two brothers from being executed for four murders in what became known as "the Wichita massacre" after earlier rulings in the men's favor sparked a political backlash.

    The justices were hearing arguments from attorneys Thursday in the cases of Jonathan and Reginald Carr. The brothers were convicted of dozens of crimes against five people in December 2000 that ended with the victims being shot in a snow-covered Wichita field, with one woman surviving to testify against the brothers.

    The crimes were among the most notorious in the state since the 1959 slayings of a western Kansas family that inspired the book "In Cold Blood." The state has 10 men on death row, including the Carrs, but it has not executed anyone since hangings in 1965.

    The Kansas court overturned the Carr brothers' death sentences in July 2014, citing flaws in their joint trial and sentencing hearing. The decisions stunned the victims' families and friends, as well as legislators. Critics launched unsuccessful efforts to oust six of the seven justices in the 2014 and 2016 elections.

    The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the Kansas court's rulings in a sometimes scathing January 2016 opinion. The nation's highest court returned the men's cases to the Kansas court for further reviews.

    The Carr brothers' attorneys are raising some of the same legal questions again, arguing that the Kansas Constitution requires the death sentences to be overturned even if the U.S. Constitution doesn't. The Kansas court has the last word on "state law" issues. There is one new justice since the court last ruled in 2014.

    The Kansas court previously concluded that the two men should have had separate sentencing hearings. Jonathan Carr argued that he was not as responsible as his brother for the crimes and that Reginald Carr had been a bad influence on him during their troubled childhoods.

    The Kansas court also said the judge's instructions to jurors during sentencing were flawed.

    Prosecutors said the brothers broke into a home in December 2000 and forced the three men and two women there to have sex with each other and later to withdraw money from ATMs. The women were raped repeatedly before all five were taken to a soccer field and shot. The four victims who died were Aaron Sander, 29; Brad Heyka, 27; Jason Befort, 26, and Heather Muller, 25.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-sta...ichita-murders
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  5. #55
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    Carr brothers seek to dodge death penalty again for 2000 murder, rape, robbery spree

    By Dion Lefler
    The Witchita Eagle

    Jonathan and Reginald Carr, sentenced to die for a brutal murder, rape and robbery spree in Wichita in the winter of 2000, will be back in court May 24 as the Kansas Supreme Court considers issues left unresolved in 2014 when it overturned their death sentences a decision that was itself later overturned in the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The purpose of Mondays oral arguments will be to consider 20 issues that were raised in the original appeal, but which the Kansas court decided in 2014 didnt need to be addressed, because it had already decided on other grounds that the Carrs should not die for their crimes.

    In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court revived the process when it overturned the state courts action that had vacated the Carr brothers death sentences.

    As a result of the U.S. Supreme Courts decision, the cases are here to address penalty-phase issues from the brothers capital murder trial that the court did not previously need to rule on, said a statement issued Monday docketing the case for more arguments at the Kansas Supreme Court.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Kansas justices had improperly applied federal law in the case, particularly when they ruled that combining the brothers penalty phases at trial had violated their rights under the federal Constitution.

    Thats still listed as an issue on appeal, although the state court cant issue any rulings that would conflict with the federal courts decisions based on federal law.

    Other issues to be resolved focus on whether the jury was correctly instructed by the trial judge, whether there was prosecutorial misconduct that tainted the proceedings, and whether a state law allowing the death penalty to be imposed on those who aid and abet a murder is constitutional.

    The case was one of the most notorious sprees in Kansas history.

    On the night of Dec. 14, 2000, the brothers burst into a home and forced five young adults to perform a variety of degrading sexual acts with the brothers and each other.

    The Carrs also kidnapped the five friends, drove them to automatic teller machines to drain their bank accounts, and finally, shot each victim in the head execution-style in a frozen field and ran over the sprawled bodies with a pickup.

    Jason Befort, 26; Brad Heyka, 27; Aaron Sander, 29, and Heather Muller, 25, died at the scene.

    But the fifth victim, identified in court by the initials H.G. survived because the bullet was deflected by a hair clip she was wearing. Naked, shoeless and grievously wounded, she managed to stagger to a home more than a mile away and alert authorities to what had happened.

    The Carr brothers were later linked to two crimes earlier in the month: the carjacking and robbery of a 23-year-old man and the shooting death of Wichita symphony cellist Linda Ann Walenta.

    The new proceedings in the brothers appeals will be heard by the state Supreme Court via teleconferencing. The arguments, beginning at 9 a.m. Monday, will be livestreamed on the courts YouTube channel.

    https://www.kansas.com/news/special-...251479138.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  6. #56
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    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.

    https://www.wibw.com/2022/01/21/kans...ath-sentences/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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