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Kansas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments Dec. 17 on Carr brothers appeal

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, July 1, 2013, at 2:44 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, at 10:48 a.m.

The Kansas Supreme Court on Monday set Dec. 17 to hear oral arguments in the lengthy appeal process of convicted murderers Jonathan and Reginald Carr.

The Carr brothers are appealing their convictions and death penalties. The appeals were filed in November 2002, when a Sedgwick County found them guilty of murder, kidnapping, rape and sodomy during a home invasion two years earlier that left four people dead.

Reginald Carr’s attorneys filed 23 extension requests before filing a written brief in October 2009. Jonathan Carr’s attorneys filed 20 extensions before filing a written brief in the previous month.

Sedgwick County’s District Attorney’s Office filed its brief for Reginald Carr’s appeal in October after requesting eight extensions. The D.A.’s brief on Jonathan Carr was filed last July after nine extensions.

Some of the D.A.’s extensions came after the defense attorneys filed supplemental briefs, requiring the prosecutors to adjust their responses.

The appeal process also stalled because of a legal dispute over the state’s capital punishment law.

A little more than a year after the Carrs’ trial, all capital cases were put on hold for more than a year after the Kansas Supreme Court declared the state’s death penalty unconstitutional in December 2004.

Cases involving seven death sentences, including the Carrs, were halted for two years while the state appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation’s highest court ruled in Kansas’ far in June 2006.

It hasn’t been determined who will present the D.A.’s oral arguments, spokeswoman Georgia Cole said. Each side will get 60 minutes to present arguments, followed by the state receiving an additional 30 minutes for rebuttal, according to a court document.

Arguments in Reginald Carr’s case is set for 9 a.m. on Dec. 17. Jonathan Carr’s case is set for 1:30 p.m.

Their convictions followed one of the most notorious crimes in Wichita history during a crime spree that extended over eight days.

The brothers were found guilty of killing Jason Befort, Brad Heyka, Aaron Sander and Heather Muller on Dec. 15, 2000, in a soccer field near K-96 and Greenwich Road. Another woman survived and ran through the snow to a nearby house and called police.

Reginald Carr also was convicted in the death of Ann Walenta after she was shot during a carjacking on Dec. 11, 2000.

No one has been executed in Kansas since 1965. Since Kansas reinstated the death penalty in 1994, no death penalty has withstood appeal. But the state’s highest court has upheld several several capital murder convictions that didn’t result in a death sentence.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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