Kansas Attorney General Schmidt to appeal death penalty decision


The Kansas Supreme Court recently ruled to not exact capital punishment for Reginald and Jonathan Carr, and Sidney Gleason.

Reginald and Jonathan were convicted of the “The Wichita Massacre” in 2002, when they allegedly murdered four Wichita residents in December of 2000, according to the Wichita Eagle. The Daily Press reported that Gleason is the convicted murderer of a Great Bend couple in 2004. All three were sentenced to death.

However, all three of the rulings have recently been overturned. KWCH News reported that the Kansas Supreme Court states that the ruling was made due to jury instructions on the sex crime-based murder charges and the capital murder charges being duplicated.

According to a press release from last Thursday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt officially filed the appeal of the court’s decision. Jennifer Rapp, interim director of communications for the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, said Schmidt is working closely with Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett.

“With Attorney General Schmidt, I look forward to the opportunity to bring these cases to this nation’s highest court,” Bennett said in a joint statement with Schmidt released in August of this year.

In this statement, the pair said they are “committed to seeking justice in this case for the victims, their families and the community.”

From the opposite party perspective, lawyers of the Carr brothers are requesting a new trial. The Wichita Eagle reported that this request for the new trial was made when the lawyers stated the brothers damaged both their defenses when they were tried together instead of separately, as requested.

“I can see both sides of the death penalty and I have mixed feelings about it,” Kansas Sen. Elaine Bowers said. “It is a very touchy subject and the people of Kansas have mixed feelings about it as well. Heinous crimes, such as committed by the Carr brothers, are horrible and the punishment of death (is a) sentence I feel was proper and appropriate.”

The decision to overturn the death sentences was made by the Kansas Supreme Court in July. However, the court still upheld the capital murder charges to both parties.

“From the perspective of a student and someone of younger age than these decision makers, I personally think the death penalty can be tricky,” Colton Odette, junior in park management and conservation, said. “Part of me doesn’t support it because there have been many cases of innocent people being charged with crimes they didn’t commit, and if they were to be sentenced to death that would be outrageous. The other part of me supports it because these people committed horrible crimes and should be charged with the harshest of punishments.”

Kansas reinstated the death penalty in 1994, according to the Death Penalty Information Center website. However, the last executions by the state of Kansas were in 1965 when George York and James Latham were sentenced to death by hanging.