Skip to comments.Trial opens window into night of fear [Wichita Massacre]
Posted on 10/13/2002 7:16:41 AM PDT by KS Flyover
Trial opens window into night of fear
BY RON SYLVESTER - The Wichita Eagle - Sun, Oct. 13, 2002
"Potential homicide... multiple victims... 37th and Greenwich Road.... "
Deputy Matthew Lynch was halfway through his shift on the overnight road patrol when he heard that dispatch at 2:44 a.m. He was on Webb Road, just minutes away.
Lynch saw nothing as he drove south on Greenwich Road. He continued until he saw a Honda Civic in a field at the end of a median at 29th Street North.
He stepped out of his Sedgwick County sheriffs' patrol car into the bitter cold. Then, with the car's headlights and a flashlight piercing the dark, he walked past the passenger side of the silver Honda and caught a sight he'd never forget.
Two people on the ground, not moving. Then two more. Blood staining the snow around their heads. Closest to him lay a woman with shoulder-length blonde hair, face down. Lynch gently brushed back the woman's hair to feel for a pulse. Nothing.
"Step it up," he said into his radio. Got four code reds, he said hopefully, meaning the victims were in critical condition. A couple of men, one rolled over on top of the other, seemed to still be fighting for breath. Then he saw another man with a sweater wrapped around his head. He did not breathe. Lynch called back to dispatch. Better make that code blue -- cardiac arrest.
Lynch stood there alone in the night with the horrific sight until Lt. Keith Maurath arrived from the county Emergency Medical Service. He carefully bent down to triage each victim. Each had a gunshot wound to the head. It was awful.
About the same time, homicide Detective Kelly Otis thought his day was finally winding down as he pulled into the driveway of his southwest Wichita home. He had worked 17-plus hours, most of them investigating a suspicious death on South Seneca Street that turned out to be a suicide.
Before he could shut off the engine of his car, he heard the radio call: a shooting. All officers responding. His day wasn't ending. It was just beginning.
As Otis headed toward the soccer field, he heard radio traffic about a woman, a survivor, on her way to Wesley Medical Center. She had been shot in the head but managed to run across a field to a house, where a couple took her in, wrapped her in blankets, and called 911.
Otis knew police had someone with a story to tell. But she was in critical condition. She could die. He turned toward Wesley.
Doctors and nurses swirled around the woman in Trauma Room N 1 when Otis arrived at 3:20 a.m. She was awake and talking as the medical staff checked the gunshot gash in her head. No one knew if the bullet was still lodged in her skull or had bounced off. She thought she might die, too, and she was eager to talk.
Otis' radio was turned up, and out of the chatter came a call for police to be on the lookout for a silver or beige Dodge Durango.
The woman popped up. She knew her boyfriend's vehicle, with a Kansas State University license plate she'd given him as a gift.
"It's a Dodge Dakota," she told Otis. You're looking for a truck, she said, not a sport-utility vehicle.
The woman had felt the tires of that truck run over her, as she lay dazed in the snow with her four friends dead or dying around her. When she was sure the truck had gone, she ran for help.
During the hours, days and weeks that followed, she would provide police with vivid, disturbing details of that night.
The evening of Dec 14, the fifth-grade suburban school teacher had baked a cheesecake.
She took the dessert to the triplex at 12727 E. Birchwood Drive, where her boyfriend, Jason Befort, lived with his two best friends. She and Jason had talked about marriage several times, and one of the roommates, Brad Heyka, had hinted to her that Jason might be getting ready to finally propose.
But she didn't have a ring on her finger when she arrived at the triplex with her gray schnauzer, Nikki, about 8:30 p.m. Nikki, a temperamental little dog, would snarl and growl at strangers. But the pup liked Jason -- a lot.
Jason hadn't returned home yet from supervising junior varsity and freshman basketball practices at Augusta High School, where he also taught science. But Brad and Aaron Sander were there. A few minutes later, Aaron's friend Heather Muller arrived.
Jason's girlfriend watched "ER," one of her favorite TV shows, and graded class papers. Jason arrived shortly after the program started and went downstairs, where Brad had a big-screen television in a basement living room.
When "ER" ended, she fixed Jason a sandwich, as Aaron and Heather sipped red wine and some soup.
After the nightly news, she went up to wash her face and get ready for bed. She had to be up early to teach. Jason performed his ritual of locking the doors and turning off all the lights, including a porch light that shown in his bedroom window.
She and Jason were dozing off when the porch light popped on, annoying them. "Don't tell me I have to get up and turn off the lights again," Jason said.
She looked at the clock over Jason's head and saw that it was past 11. She heard Aaron's voice outside the bedroom.
The door burst open. She thought it was Aaron until someone jerked the blankets off her. She looked up to see a man silhouetted in the doorway. A second man led Aaron into the room by the shirt. He threw Aaron on the foot of the bed.
"Who else is in the house?" they asked. In the shadows, she saw they had guns.
Brad's downstairs, they told the intruders. One man stayed; the other left. Soon Brad was tossed onto the floor at the foot of the bed.
Anyone else? One of the gunmen got Heather.
"Where are the phones?" they asked. Aaron said he'd already told them about the only phone.
"Where's the safe?" they demanded.
Safe? There's no safe, they told the strangers.
"In a house this... nice, there's got to be a safe," the men with guns said.
They ordered everyone to undress. Nikki began to growl and bare her teeth.
"Shut the dog up, or we'll shoot it," they said.
They pointed to the two women --"You and you, too" -- telling them to come out of the bedroom.
The attackers proceeded to rape the women and beat and threaten the men. When they weren't being brought out to be assaulted and humiliated, they were left in the closet of Jason's room.
It was there that the woman heard her friends discuss fighting back. Maybe they could overpower the men and take the guns. But they were all scared and traumatized by their attackers. These guys were angry. Their guns made them intimidating.
Aaron tried to protest a couple of times. The woman heard him scream in pain each time he resisted their demands. They counted off "11:52, 11:53," hinting they might shoot him if he didn't comply.
As she sat in the closet, one of the strangers opened the double folding doors and showed off a diamond engagement ring. He asked Jason: "Is this the only one?" Yeah, Befort said of what was to be his Christmas gift to his girlfriend. She glanced at Brad, who gave her an "I told you so" look.
Nikki growled by Brad. "Shut the dog up," the man said. The friends put a black muzzle on Nikki.
The stockier of the two men took them one by one -- Jason, Brad, the woman, Aaron -- to ATMs and forced them to withdraw money at gunpoint. A slender man, who repeatedly raped the women, stayed behind.
After she returned from her trip to the ATM, the broad-shouldered stranger began to flirt with her outside the triplex.
He asked if his partner had had sex with her.
Yes, she said, he'd raped her.
Ever been with a black man before? he asked, in the night's only apparent reference to race.
No, she said.
Did you like it?
He had a gun; she figured saying "yes" would keep him happy.
Too bad we didn't meet under different circumstances, he said, because you're kind of cute, and we might have hit it off.
She told him she wasn't having a good time that night.
When they went back in the house, both men raped her again. She got a good look at their faces.
Later, she would tell Otis in the emergency room that the men tried to clean up after themselves, using Windex on doorknobs and in the bathroom where some of the rapes occurred.
Then, around 2 a.m., the men drove the five friends to the soccer field, taking Sanders' Honda and Befort's truck. They knelt them in the snow and fired.
Police on their way to check out the triplex around 5 a.m. had passed a Dodge Dakota heading south on 127th Street East. But Sgt. John Hoofer lost it on the slick roads. At the triplex, officers found Nikki, the dog, dead, and a ransacked home with an entertainment center but no big television and dust spots on empty computer tables.
Outside, Hoofer stopped a white Plymouth that police thought might have been circling the house. The driver identified himself as Reginald Carr. The policeman noted it and let him go.
By 6 a.m., local TV news shows carried reports of the horrendous homicide, including descriptions given by the woman: two black men -- one in an orange and black FUBU brand sweater, leather jacket; another in a black jacket -- thought to be in a silver Dodge Dakota.
Christian Taylor heard the news and was outraged, like many across Wichita that morning. It was the second quadruple homicide in a week. Suspects had been arrested in the first. But who had done this?
Hearts across the city reached out to the victims. But what could one person do? Taylor had his own answer. He could keep an eye out for that truck.
How strange that when he walked out of his apartment in the Windsor at Woodgate complex, he saw a Dodge Dakota, sitting just a few spots away from his own car. A man stood beside it looking at him. Act natural, Taylor thought: If this is the guy they're looking for, you don't want him to know you know anything. He might shoot you, too. Taylor got in his car, like he was going to work and then drove to a police substation and told them what he had seen.
Just after 7 a.m., police circled the Dodge Dakota in the parking lot at 5400 E. 21st St. Riwa Obel Nsangalufu, a foreign student who lived there, saw the police around the truck as he drove past. He'd just helped a man move a big-screen television from that truck into Building N 8. The man offered him money. Obel said no, he was happy to help.
Obel helped police, too. He led Officer Jeff Gilmore to the stairs of the building and pointed to Apartment 819. That's where the man went, he said. A woman had answered the door and asked the man where he'd been all night, as he dragged the big television inside.
Soon Wichita police officers, county sheriff's deputies and state troopers surrounded the apartment. Lt. John Speer ordered a stack -- a police term for lining up, one behind the other, guns drawn, to enter a possibly dangerous situation. If this was the guy, he wasn't afraid to kill people.
Officer James Espinoza stood closest to the door. He knocked: "Wichita police. Come out."
No answer. Espinoza knocked again. Wait a minute, said a woman's voice from behind the door.
Open up, police persisted.
The woman cracked the door. Espinoza saw a figure dart toward the balcony. Outside, officers saw a man put one leg up on the rail of the balcony.
"Stop. Show us your hands. Don't move," police said in unison, guns aimed.
Reginald Carr ran back inside, where police burst past the woman, knocking over a knickknack shelf. Espinoza pointed his gun at Carr and ordered him to the floor. He handcuffed Carr, patted him down for weapons, walked him out into the hallway. Sgt. Shawn Fortune checked Carr's pockets and pulled out Jason Befort's Shamrock Oil credit card, a woman's watch and $996 in cash.
Police took Carr out to a patrol unit as TV crews taped the arrest for newscasts.
Andrew Schreiber, a broad-shouldered former Wichita State University baseball player who had reported being car-jacked and robbed a week earlier, hadn't been able to tell police who attacked him. Then he saw a newscast of Carr in handcuffs. He called police. That's the guy who robbed me, he said.
Schreiber had thought he'd be shot, too, after two men abducted him from a Kum & Go convenience store near his east Wichita house after 10 p.m. Dec. 7. They'd driven him to several ATMs and ordered him at gunpoint to drain his savings account. Then, after midnight, they had left him on a desolate gravel road, taking his money and his Guess watch with the blue face.
The blue Guess watch turned up inside Apartment 819, as crime scene investigators meticulously cataloged evidence of stolen items, including a Sony big-screen television, computers, VCRs.
Even in death, Jason Befort, Aaron Sander and Brad Heyka would be witnesses. Their driver's licenses, credit cards, ATM receipts and luggage marked with their names all were found in Apartment 819.
Police put Reginald Carr in interview room No. 1, where the detectives work on the sixth floor of City Hall. But the wounded woman had said there were two attackers. Another suspect was still out there, somewhere.
Testimony in the trial resumes Monday. Watch for updates at Kansas.com and in The Eagle.
Reach Ron Sylvester at 268-6514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Wichita Massacre" Posts:Killing Suspect Just Out of Jail - 01/01/2001
Scott McConnell: "Unfit to Print" - 01/10/2001
THE WICHITA HORROR - 01/13/2001
DA, Public Interest Clash Over Records (Wichita multiple murder) - 01/13/2001
Court seals case files in Wichita quadruple homicides - 01/14/2001
Lawyer asks to close pretrial proceedings (Update on The Wichita Horror) - 01/17/2001
Lawyers brawl over records (Wichita Horror/Quadruple Homicide) - 01/27/2001
BLOODY KANSAS: HATE CRIMES IN WICHITA? - 02/12/2001
Hate Crimes: A One-Way Street? - 03/05/2001
Carrs (Wichita Horror) to have joint preliminary hearing - 04/14/2001
The Wichita Massacre - 07/16/2002 - [Details about the murders]
BLACK RACISM: THE HATE CRIME THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME - 07/16/2002
'Wichita Horror' trial to begin - 09/09/2002
Court TV to air 'Wichita horror' - 09/18/2002
Wichita Massacre Trial Media Blackout - 09/27/2002
Wichita to revisit brutal slayings as testimony begins - 10/07/2002
Deputy recalls moment of discovering bodies [Wichita Murders] Day 1 - 10/07/2002
WICHITA MASSACRE TRIAL UNDERWAY Day 1 - 10/08/2002
Legal wrangling opens Carr trial [Wichita Murders] Day 1 - 10/08/2002
Carr trial: Survivor describes sexual attacks by armed intruders [Wichita Massacre] Day 2 - 10/09/2002
Witchita Case of Black Racist Crime Survivor's testimony horrifies courtroom Day 2 - 10/10/2002
Woman testifies that Carrs killed her friends in a soccer field [Wichita Massacre Day 3] - 10/10/2002
Prosecutors Downplay Racial Element in Kansas Murder Trial - 10/11/2002
Reginald Carr had $996, victims' credit card, watch [Wichita Massacre Day 4] - 10/11/2002
Wichita Massacre Audio of 911 Call by Female Survivor with Court Room Video Footage From Day 1- 10/11/2002
Victims' belongings linked to defendant [Wichita Massacre Day 5] - 10/12/2002
Please let me know if you want on (or off) this list.
The Washington Times has been reporting on this story. I'm not sure if it's every day, but there have been stories as recently as yesterday.
These victims had opportunities they never took.
As soon as the victims were confronted in the triplex, they should have run off screaming, in all directions. One out the front door, one out the back, one towards the window. Yes, they may have been shot. And those wounds probably would have been survivable. At that point, the shooters would probably have run off.
The criminals will say We wont hurt you. Are they trustworthy? Then why would you EVER allow them to bind you.? Why would you ever allow them to move you anywhere? This simple policy of immediately running and screaming, must be ingrained and practiced. It must be instilled in your loved ones TODAY. Because if you dont initiate this policy today, it will be too late when you cant think clearly under stress of death. If this policy is firmly implaced in your psyche, when the moment arrives, you will fall back on your training, and survive.
See Strong On Defense, by Sanford Strong.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.