US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeals From ‘Wichita Massacre’ Killers

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of two brothers – Jonathan and Reginald Carr – who were sentenced to death for four fatal shootings in a Kansas soccer field in December 2000, known as the “Wichita massacre.” Former Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said that the decision means the Carr brothers no longer have any direct appeals of their death sentences; however, they can still file lawsuits in state or federal courts to try to prevent their executions.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision came little less than a year after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the two brothers had received fair trials, and upheld their death sentences. Kansas has nine men on death row, and the last execution was carried out in June 1965.

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. Prosecutors said that the women were raped multiple times before all five victims were taken to a soccer field and shot. Aaron Sander, Brad Heyka, Jason Befort, and Heather Muller died, while one woman survived, and testified against the Carr brothers. They were convicted for the crime, and for killing another person in a separate attack. Each accused the other of carrying out the crimes.

Clayton Perkins, an attorney representing Jonathan, and Debra Wilson, representing Reginald, declined to comment on the verdict.

The Kansas Supreme Court overturned their death sentences in 2014, but the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision in 2016. While arguing the appeals, their attorneys raised questions about having separate examinations by the jury and errors made by lawyers and the lower court judge in giving instructions and in closing arguments. However, the Kansas court concluded that the errors did not warrant overturning the death sentences.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision comes as former Attorney General Derek Schmidt steps down after 12 years in office, and just ahead of the sworn-in new Attorney General Kris Kobach, a fellow Republican.

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