- The Washington Times - Friday, November 15, 2002

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) Jurors yesterday sentenced to death two brothers convicted in the execution-style slayings of four friends on a snow-covered soccer field.
It took jurors about seven hours to decide the fate of Reginald Carr, 25, and his brother, Jonathan, 22, who were convicted last week of capital murder for the Dec. 15, 2000, deaths of four persons, and of attempted murder for the shooting of a fifth person.
The brothers were convicted of 93 crimes, including first-degree murder in the shooting of another woman four days before the Dec. 15 murders.
Jurors returned capital murder convictions in the deaths of Aaron Sander, 29, Brad Heyka, 27, Jason Befort, 26, and Heather Muller, 25. All four were shot execution-style in the back of the head as they knelt side by side in the field.
Mr. Befort's girlfriend, 25 at the time, also was shot in the head in the field. But she survived and ran naked through the snow to find help, and later testified against the killers.
The trial has lasted more than two months. The grim details of a nine-day rampage have been monitored closely by a community still shaken nearly two years after the slayings. The Carr brothers are black, all of their victims were white, and some have criticized prosecutors for failing to investigate racial hatred as a motive.
The most notorious of the crimes began on the evening of Dec. 14, when the Carr brothers forced their way into the Wichita home where the three men lived, and where the two women were visiting.
The five friends were forced at gunpoint to engage in sexual acts with each other and to withdraw money from automated teller machines. Both the intruders repeatedly raped the two women before driving all five friends to the soccer field and shooting them about 2 a.m. Dec. 15.
In closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutors had urged jurors to show the brothers the same mercy the two men showed the five friends.
"What murder would warrant the death penalty, if it is not this? It defies reason to think of the torturous slaughter of these four young people who gave no fight," said Deputy District Attorney Kim Parker.
Kansas requires a unanimous verdict for the death penalty, and defense attorneys argued just one juror could decide to show the brothers mercy and spare their lives.
"Any one of you can decide to save this young man's life," said Ron Evans, Jonathan Carr's attorney. "You can decide there is some good there. There is something worth saving."
Jay Greeno, the attorney for Reginald Carr, said his client was the product of an abusive household, and he urged jurors to think about the effect an execution would have on Carr's three young children.
Jurors last week convicted Reginald Carr of 50 counts for crimes committed during the nine-day crime rampage. Jonathan Carr was convicted on 43 counts.
In addition to the four capital-murder counts for those killings, the brothers also were convicted of first-degree murder for the shooting of Wichita symphony cellist Ann Walenta, 55.

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