Faces of evil denied new sentencing hearing

WICHITA – Two men who served more than 20 years in a Kansas prison for terrorizing, raping and robbing five people before executing four of them on an icy Wichita soccer field will not receive a new sentencing hearing, a Wichita judge said yesterday.

Jonathan and Reginald Carr were originally sentenced to death for the 2000 crime, and while the Kansas Supreme Court upheld their convictions in 2014 it court overturned their orders for execution, saying the brothers’ constitutional rights were violated when they did not receive separate hearings. The US Supreme Court reversed that decision and sent the case back to the Kansas Supreme Court in 2016.

The Carrs broke into a Wichita home where the two women and three men were gathered, bound them and repeated raped both the women in a hours-long stretch of terror,  later forcing the women to have sex with each other and with the two men before taking them to ATMs to empty their bank accounts. They were then taken to the soccer field, stripped naked and shot in the back of their heads before the Carrs drove over their bodies in one of the victim’s truck.

One of the five intended victims survived the execution-style attempt on her life at the soccer field that night when the bullet fired into her head was deflected by a hair barette. She later testified against the two at trial.

Defense attorneys lodged a number of procedural complaints about the trial and its hearings, and made allegations of racism against the Wichita Police department. The Carrs are black, the victims were white. 

In his ruling, Sedgwick County Judge Jeff Gehring said he lacked the authority to schedule a new sentencing hearing until the actual sentence against the two was vacated.

The Carrs are two of nine men currently on  death row in Kansas, which has not pursued an execution since the murderers of Otto Ziegler were hung in June 1965.

Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.

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