- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2001

Outside the Internet, the shocking multiple murders in Wichita, Kan., havent received much national attention, and Wichita authorities want to keep it that way.
Since Jonathan and Reginald Carr were accused of murdering five persons in December, the case has been hit with a gag order preventing prosecutors and lawyers from discussing details with the public. Some court documents pertaining to the crime have also been sealed, although the defense lost a motion to seal the case record entirely.
The Carr case became a cause celebre on some Internet sites and touched off a debate over race and crime after Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston refused to classify the murders as hate crimes. The Carrs are black, while each of the five victims was white.
Last month, the Carrs were charged with 58 counts each of murder, robbery, rape and other crimes related to the December crime spree that left five dead. Prosecutors have said that they will seek the death penalty for both Jonathan Carr, 20, and Reginald Carr, 23.
Defense attorneys for the Carrs fear that a rash of pretrial publicity could jeopardize their clients' ability to receive a fair trial. Attorneys for the Wichita Eagle newspaper and two local television stations are fighting the actions on First Amendment grounds.
Fear of turning the trial into a forum on race has also emerged as an issue. At an April 6 hearing on whether a preliminary hearing should be closed, Mrs. Foulston argued that if media attorneys were allowed to cross-examine witnesses on the First Amendment issue, "wed have to let the Aryan Nations come in here, if they decided they had an interest," according to the Eagle.
Lou Calabro, president of the European-American Issues Forum, chafed at her description, arguing that those interested in the case are "just ordinary people who believe that the Carr brothers assaults and murders of European Americans were racially motivated crimes that the D.A. and city of Wichita have no interest in pursuing."
The secrecy surrounding the case has come under fire from some locals. Those who criticized Mrs. Foulston's decision against classifying the murders as hate crimes say they wonder if she isn't trying to hide evidence of the Carrs animosity toward whites.
"The feelings are still there. I wouldnt call it outrage, but Id call it suspicion," said Del Riley, a Wichita billing clerk who keeps up with the case. "I really don't have any problem with Mrs. Foulston as far as convictions go Ive voted for her every time. But this gag order upsets me."
Mrs. Foulston opted against the hate-crime classification because she says the murders were motivated by robbery, not racial hatred. She also notes that Kansas does not have a hate-crime statute, although the state does have a special penalty provision that allows sentences to be enhanced when the crime is based on racial hatred.
The Carrs are accused of unleashing a crime spree that began Dec. 7, when they kidnapped a 23-year-old man from a convenience store and robbed him. Four days later, prosecutors say they repeatedly shot 55-year-old Ann Walenta, a local cellist, outside her home. She died a few days later from her injuries.
On Dec. 14, the Carrs reportedly broke into the home of three men in their 20s and their two female guests. Prosecutors say the Carrs raped the two women and forced the four friends to have sex with each other, then took them one by one to an automated teller machine and forced them to withdraw money.
Later that night, prosecutors say, the Carrs drove their victims to a deserted soccer field, forced them to kneel in the snow and shot them each in the back of the head. The attackers then drove their truck over the bodies.
One of the women, identified only as H.G., miraculously survived the gunshot wound and walked across the soccer field in sub-freezing temperatures to find help.
At a preliminary hearing last month, she identified Jonathan Carr as one of the attackers but said she never got a good look at the other suspect. Killed in the attack were the womans boyfriend Jason Befort, 26; Brad Heyka, 27; Heather Muller, 25; and Aaron Sander, 29.


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