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Legal wrangling opens Carr trial [Wichita Murders]
The Wichita Eagle ^ | 10/08/02 | RON SYLVESTER

Posted on 10/08/2002 5:00:32 AM PDT by KS Flyover

Legal wrangling opens Carr trial

A lawyer for Reginald Carr suggests that Jonathan Carr and an unknown man committed the crimes.
Jonathan Carr's lawyer requests a mistrial and is denied.

BY RON SYLVESTER - The Wichita Eagle - Tue, Oct. 08, 2002

A call for a mistrial Monday highlighted the first day of testimony in the murder trial of Jonathan and Reginald Carr.

Val Wachtel, lawyer for Reginald Carr, drew objections from prosecutors and from Jonathan Carr's lawyer when he suggested in his opening statement that Jonathan Carr and another man were responsible for four of the murders the brothers are charged with.

Jonathan Carr's lawyer asked for a mistrial after Wachtel's statement, but Judge Paul Clark denied the motion.

Wachtel based his statement on a single hair -- a strand of hair from a black male that turned up during the investigation. The hair contained DNA belonging to neither Reginald nor Jonathan Carr.

"Jonathan Carr," Wachtel said, "committed nearly all of the crimes alleged with a third black male who still walks the streets."

District Attorney Nola Foulston quickly and loudly objected. Clark quietly sustained the objection as Wachtel calmly walked away from the lectern without comment.

Prosecutors contend that the Carr brothers are the only ones who participated in a weeklong crime spree that ended with five deaths, including four at a snowy soccer complex near 29th Street North and Greenwich Road.

"This is a case about nine days in December 2000; it's about seven victims, five murders, two survivors and two brothers," Foulston told the jury.

Foulston and her chief deputy, Kim Parker, asked Clark to cite Wachtel for deliberate misconduct.

Jonathan Carr's lawyer, Mark Manna, who asked for a mistrial, said, "This is the reason we felt these defendants needed to be severed and given separate trials."

Clark said that he wanted to see if evidence supported Wachtel's remarks before ruling on the misconduct.

Parker told the judge that she had seen this sort of behavior before. Parker said Wachtel and co-counsel Jay Greeno pointed to a mystery man during the November 1999 capital murder trial of Stanley Elms. The jury convicted Elms and sentenced him to death.

This time, Wachtel says he has DNA evidence supporting his theory. He also said he thinks there is a lack of conclusive eyewitness identification of Reginald Carr throughout the case. Reginald Carr, he contends, was selling drugs at the time the quadruple homicides were committed.

Manna, meanwhile, focused on two of the crimes -- a carjacking and robbery of a former Wichita State University baseball player and the shooting death of a Wichita Symphony cellist.

"There's not one piece of evidence or information to show Jonathan Carr had anything to do with these things, other than he's Reginald Carr's brother," Manna said in his opening remarks. "It's only guilt by association."

About the only people who didn't show strong emotions during the first day of testimony were the 12 jurors and four alternates.

They sat expressionless while hearing audiotape of the sobbing cries for help to 911 from the woman who lived through a night of being raped, robbed and then shot in the back of the head. She's expected to testify this afternoon.

Not one juror showed a visible reaction when Foulston passed them a photograph of the bodies of the survivor's four friends, all shot in the head.

But that image still chokes up Deputy Sheriff Matt Lynch.

Following the frantic 911 call, Lynch was the first to arrive at the soccer complex at 29th and Greenwich.

He choked back tears as he talked about walking toward a silver Honda Civic sitting in the dark of an empty field, illuminated only by the headlights of his patrol car.

As Lynch walked closer, he saw a woman with shoulder-length hair lying in the snow. At the time, he didn't know her name was Heather Muller. Then he saw all four bodies.

"Step it up," he called on his radio, for anyone else heading toward the soccer field. Lynch said he had four code reds, meaning critical injuries -- the same way other officers had classified the survivor.

"There was a large amount of blood in the snow from everyone involved," Lynch said.

Lynch said he tried to check for a pulse. That's when he swallowed hard on the witness stand.

"And what did you find?" Foulston asked.

"No pulse," Lynch said, fighting back tears.

Then Lynch took a deep breath and said, "Sorry."

Lynch carried on: He said he looked closer at the bodies and radioed dispatch again to change his code call.

They were code blue, Lynch said, "in cardiac arrest."

Reach Ron Sylvester at 268-6514 or

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Kansas
KEYWORDS: kansas; trial; wichita; wichitamassacre
The Defendants

1 posted on 10/08/2002 5:00:33 AM PDT by KS Flyover
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To: TroutStalker; alfa6; mjaneangels@aolcom; carlo3b; dennisw; Judith Anne; AK2KX; sheik yerbouty; ...
Wichita murder trial "Ping List".

Please let me know if you want on (or off) this list.

2 posted on 10/08/2002 5:01:16 AM PDT by KS Flyover
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To: KS Flyover
Why isn't this case on court TV????
This appears to be a civil rights barn burner, classic case of race hate. Why is this not a Hate Crime... it sure appears there was a lot of hate, rape, robbery, kidnap, murder, all one race, prep another...???
3 posted on 10/08/2002 5:47:59 AM PDT by carlo3b
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To: carlo3b
Perps are the "wrong" profile for a hate crime. But I think you already knew that.
4 posted on 10/08/2002 5:56:09 AM PDT by TroutStalker
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To: TroutStalker
Here's the story from the KC Times:

Judge refuses to declare mistrial over defense opening statement

The Associated Press

A defense attorney told jurors in opening statements that a third man was involved in the crimes, but a judge refused to declare a mistrial Monday in the case of two brothers charged with five killings.

Prosecutors requested sanctions against John Val Wachtel, attorney for defendant Reginald Carr. District Judge Paul Clark put off a decision on the sanctions until he had seen the defense's case.

"As I understand evidence, lawyers don't get up and make declarations concerning evidence in opening statement that they don't have. ...The inference of intentional misconduct is well-supported," Clark told attorneys after the jury had left.

Val Wachtel made the statement while outlining his defense case. He told jurors Reginald Carr was not with his brother Jonathan Carr the night four of the five persons were killed but instead was out selling drugs on the street. He contends that a hair from an unidentified black person that was found at a crime scene indicates that someone else might have been involved.

"Ultimately the DNA evidence will show that Jonathan Carr, not Reginald Carr, committed most if not all of the crimes alleged in the complaint -- and he did it with a third black male which still walks the street," Val Wachtel told jurors.

Mark Manna, the attorney for Jonathan Carr, said the incident showed why he initially wanted the trials of the two brothers separated. He said that if a mistrial was not declared, the brothers should be tried separately.

In his opening statement, Manna argued that no evidence connected his client to earlier robberies. He also discounted some of the ballistics evidence the prosecution planned to introduce.

"Because some counts may be proven against one defendant does not mean all counts will be proven by both. ... My role in these brief opening remarks is to let you, the jury, know Jonathan Carr is innocent," Manna said.

District Attorney Nola Foulston told jurors that the state had DNA, ballistics and other evidence tying both brothers to the crimes.

Between them, the brothers are charged with 113 criminal acts, including capital murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

In the most notorious of the crimes, the brothers are charged with abducting five persons from a Wichita home Dec. 14, 2000, and shooting them in a soccer field the next morning. One woman survived, but Aaron Sander, 29; Heather Muller, 25; Brad Heyka, 27; and Jason Befort, 26, died. The Carrs also are accused in the shooting earlier that month of Ann Walenta, 55, who later died.

Foulston told jurors that Reginald Carr was arrested in an apartment filled with television and computer equipment from the victims and that Muller's blood was found on his clothing. In his pocket was a credit card that belonged to Befort, she said.

When Jonathan Carr was arrested later that day, police found in his pocket the diamond engagement ring that Befort had planned to give to his girlfriend -- the woman who survived the ordeal.

Testimony presented Monday showed the woman ran nude nearly a mile over snow-covered fields and fences to the nearest house, suffering frost-bite on her feet and hands along the way.

Foulston said the woman urged the police to collect evidence from her body if she died before she finished giving them details of the crimes.

"This was a woman who was desperate to let someone know what happened to her," Foulston said, "because she believed she was going to die and if she did the story of the execution of her friends would be left untold."

5 posted on 10/08/2002 6:18:04 AM PDT by KS Flyover
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To: KS Flyover
Weird, I expected them to look more... criminal.
These guys could be working next to me and I wouldn't think anything of it.
6 posted on 10/08/2002 6:30:47 AM PDT by MrB
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7 posted on 10/08/2002 6:34:36 AM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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To: MrB


8 posted on 10/08/2002 6:39:48 AM PDT by KS Flyover
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To: MrB
Will the race card be played, and will we have a 11/1 or 10/2 hung jury?
9 posted on 10/08/2002 6:40:06 AM PDT by MindBender26
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Earlier thread:

Deputy recalls moment of discovering bodies [Wichita Murders]

10 posted on 10/08/2002 6:54:28 AM PDT by KS Flyover
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To: KS Flyover
Ah, I see, the lawyers tried for the effect that I see in the "after" pictures.
11 posted on 10/08/2002 6:55:45 AM PDT by MrB
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To: carlo3b; TroutStalker; KS Flyover
IIRC it was originally scheduled to be on CourtTV but owing to the length of jury selection CourtTV dropped it. Scheduling conflicts don't cha know. Also IIRC CTV is planning on showing "highlights" in the evenings.

TS or KS Flyover either of you heard anything about the CourtTV deal.


alfa6 ;>}
12 posted on 10/08/2002 6:56:32 AM PDT by alfa6
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To: alfa6
This is the article where Court TV announced they would be covering the trial:
Court TV to air 'Wichita horror'

This article is about Court TV backing out:
Wichita Massacre Trial Media Blackout

13 posted on 10/08/2002 7:09:29 AM PDT by KS Flyover
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To: KS Flyover
With any luck, cops will find a way to introduce the booking pictures, but for some jurors, that will be "better" looking!!!
14 posted on 10/08/2002 7:13:15 AM PDT by MindBender26
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To: alfa6; KS Flyover
I couldn't see where CourtTV has anything scheduled for viewing, but here is the story from their website:


Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2002
Updated Oct. 4, 2002, 4:55 p.m. ET
Was this Kansas killing spree a brotherly affair?  
Jonathan Carr, shown here, and his brother, Reginald Carr, are charged with going on a December 2000 killing spree that left five dead and two wounded.

Before the twisted sexual games and the bloody crescendo of violence that characterized the last day of their week-plus killing spree, the Carr brothers of Wichita, Kansas, were just out for money, police say. But by the time their rampage came to a halt, they say, stealing money was the least of their crimes: Six victims had been shot, five fatally, and another was assaulted.

In a trial expected to begin Monday in Sedgwick County prosecutors will attempt to stitch together eight bloody days in the lives of brothers Reginald Carr Jr., 23, and Jonathan Carr, 20. Their star witness will be the only surviving victim of their most brutal attack who was raped, shot and run over by a car.

The Carrs are facing a total of 113 charges in connection with their rampage, known locally as the "Wichita Horror," which spanned Dec. 7 to Dec. 14, 2000. If convicted, the brothers could face the death penalty.

The Crime

At around 11 p.m. on Dec. 7, Andrew Schreiber, a one-time Wichita State University baseball player who was then 25, was at the Kum & Go convenience store when he crossed paths with the brothers. They allegedly abducted him, took him to an ATM where they forced him to withdraw $800 and then drove out near an airport. There, they allegedly shot out the tires on Schreiber's car and sped away in another vehicle, leaving Schreiber stranded on a dirt road.

Reginald Carr

Prosecutors say that the Carrs laid low the next few days, but resumed their crime spree on Dec. 11. Around 5:30 that evening, 55-year-old cellist Ann Walenta was driving to her house when a light sedan was seen following her. That night, Walenta attended orchestra practice with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.

When she left to return home at around 9:30 p.m., the sedan reappeared. The car followed her home, and when she arrived 15 minutes later, one of the brothers allegedly approached her car with a gun. Walenta tried to drive away, but was shot. She died Jan. 2, 2001.

Three days later, a group of twentysomethings gathered at the Wichita apartment of Brad Heyka, 27, Aaron Sander, 29 and Jason Befort, 26. Around 8 p.m. on Dec. 14, Heather Muller and a female friend, both 25, arrived at the apartment. Befort, a science teacher at a local high school, had plans to propose to the unnamed female, also a teacher who taught at a nearby elementary school.

Around 11 p.m., the gathering plunged into chaos. Prosecutors claim the Carrs burst into the apartment, guns in hand. They allegedly ordered the five to strip and forced them into a closet. After the two women were raped by the assailants, all five were ordered to participate in a twisted orgy with each other.

Over the next two hours, each of the five victims were driven separately to nearby ATMs and withdrew a total of $1,600 in cash.

At 2 a.m., according to prosecutors, the Carrs left the apartment, stuffing the three men in the trunk of Sander's car. Prosecutors say that one of brothers drove with Mueller was seated in the passenger seat, while the other brother allegedly took the unnamed female with him in Befort's silver Dodge pickup.

Their destination was a soccer complex nearby. When they arrived, the Carrs allegedly forced the three men to kneel in front of the car, and brought the women to another part of the field and forced them, too, to kneel on the ground. All five were shot in the head.

As the Carrs allegedly peeled away from the field, one of them tore over the victims with the car. But despite being shot in the head and trampled, one female — only referred to by her initials "H.G." to protect her anonymity — survived.

The survivor tended to Befort, her boyfriend, and then made her way to a nearby house to call for help. Meanwhile, the Carrs allegedly returned to the victim's apartment, shot the survivor's dog and slipped a big-screen television out the door and into a waiting pickup.

The Prosecution

Victim testimony could prove to be the strongest element of the state's case. The survivor of the rampage is expected to identify the brothers as the rampaging duo that burst into the apartment on Dec. 14, and carjacking victim Andrew Schreiber will testify about being abducted in front of the convenience store on the first day of the rampage eight days earlier.

But many of the crimes the brothers are charged with cannot be attested to by the eyewitnesses. The murder of Ann Walenta, for example, will need to be constructed on circumstantial evidence.

Physical evidence will buttress the prosecution's case. When Reginald Carr was arrested, he had Heather Muller's watch in his pocket, along with Jason Befort's credit card and nearly $1,000 in his pockets. Jonathan Carr's leather jacket was found with a diamond ring that was reportedly similar to the one Befort had bought for his girlfriend.

The Defense

Faced with damaging eyewitness testimony and physical evidence that places the brothers at the scene, defense lawyers are expected to offer prosecutors a moving target.

"We're going to be pointing fingers at each other a lot," Jay Greeno, one of Reginald Carr's lawyers, told the Associated Press.

Though prosecutors have been able to link a gun to three shootings, the weapon hasn't been linked to either of the brothers.

Defense attorneys fought hard to relocate the trial to another venue, arguing that it would be difficult to empanel an impartial jury with the widespread coverage of the killing spree in Wichita. Their request was denied, however, sparking the longest jury selection process in county history.

Avoidable Hate Crimes?

A slew of related issues have surfaced in the past two years as the prosecution pieced together its case.

In 2001, the Kansas prison system came under fire when it was revealed Reginald Carr should have been in prison at the time of the murders, but was released early because of the math mistakes of two parole officers.

Also, because the Carr brothers are black and all of their victims white, many expected the district attorney's office to slap them with hate crime charges. The D.A. declined to do so, however, sparking allegations of racial bias.

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15 posted on 10/08/2002 7:13:31 AM PDT by TroutStalker
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To: KS Flyover
Thanks for the ping

I saw FOX's show with Shepard Smith covering this and Drudge had an article yesterday.

It's not as much attention as it should get, but it's more than I expected.

16 posted on 10/08/2002 7:22:29 AM PDT by republicman
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To: carlo3b
. Why is this not a Hate Crime... ***

You're in Kansas, Dorthy

17 posted on 10/08/2002 7:45:24 AM PDT by Lion Den Dan
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To: KS Flyover; All
Todays developments will be on the Fox Report with Shep next. after commercials It'll probably be short though.
18 posted on 10/08/2002 4:15:11 PM PDT by Rightly Biased
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To: Rightly Biased
Say what you want, but as far as I am concerned these Prosecutors and the Dept. OF inJustice are Racist for NOT charging these Murdering Scum with Hate Crimes.

These are no less hate crimes then the dragging of James Bird. When they use humiliation and tourture as in this case it is ALL about HATE!
19 posted on 10/08/2002 4:58:36 PM PDT by Area51
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To: Area51
I'm all with you this was completely racially motivated and nothing less than a Hate crime I say that the Sedgwick Co attorney has no backbone.. But, my oh my does the young woman who took the stand today have a backbone.
What a brave woman!!!
20 posted on 10/08/2002 5:50:57 PM PDT by Rightly Biased
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