Jonathan Carr: What happened to those boys who shot those kids?
— Interrogation with homicide detective Kelly Otis
Reginald and Jonathan Carr were a pair of brothers who embarked on a horrific crime spree in Wichita during December 2000, known as "The Wichita Massacre" or "The Wichita Horror".
The early lives of Reginald and Jonathan Carr were rather harsh. Born in Dodge City, their parents quarreled a lot and would turn extremely violent against one another. Their father, and later their mother's boyfriends, would sexually abuse their older sister. Eventually, the two divorced and their father immediately abandoned his old life. Their mother, Janice Harding, would go on to have a second marriage that was as violent and unsuccessful as the first one, with the husband even once putting a gun to her head. Occasionally, Reginald and Jonathan would also live with their maternal grandmother, who, like their mother, was also prone to sudden outbursts of rage. Janice was also abusive on them, punishing them by using electrical cords (how she used them exactly is unspecified). The broken lives the brothers led at home practically defined themselves. Reginald would put up fights at school and had a notably bad performance record there, was protective of his brother, and was experienced with the knowledge of sex and drugs; this reportedly began when he was six. Jonathan became suicidal, once attempting suicide by drinking antifreeze when he was sixteen years old. Reginald's early adult life became a series of failed marriages. Both also established lengthy arrest records.
The Wichita Horror
One day during 2000, the Carr brothers made a decision to go on a crime spree in Wichita. Exactly what led to this decision is currently unspecified. The two brothers started with robbing 23-year-old assistant baseball coach Andrew Schreiber at gunpoint on December 8 upon arriving at Wichita. Three days later, at least one of them (it is unknown which brother) next approached 55-year-old cellist and librarian Ann Walenta as she parked her SUV in front of her house and held her at gunpoint in what appeared to be a carjacking. Walenta attempted to drive away, only for the attacker to riddle her with bullets, severely wounding her. A neighbor called 911 when Walenta's car horn was heard blaring, having been activated by Walenta's collapsed head. On a snowy December 14, the Carr brothers invaded 12727 Birchwood Drive, which was currently housing five people: Brad Heyka, 27; Heather Muller, 25; Aaron Sander, 29; Jason Befort, 26; and his girlfriend H.G., 25 (her real name hasn't been disclosed due to a policy of protecting survivors of sex crimes). A dog, named Nikki, was also present. The Carr brothers gathered up all five residents before robbing the house of its valuables, including (in a tragic twist of fate) an engagement ring Befort was planning on giving to H.G. They then subjected their captives into various forms of sexual abuse. Afterwards, the Carr brothers took them to a bank, where they forced them to empty out their accounts and give the money to them; then, they drove all five to a snowy soccer field, where they executed them, one by one, shooting them in the head. Four out of the five were murdered: the metal barrette H.G. had been wearing at the time deflected the bullet meant to kill her.
The Carr brothers returned to 12727 Birchwood Drive to rob it of any remaining items. In the process, they killed Nikki. Meanwhile, H.G. ran to a house, where the residents saw her and called 911. The Carr brothers' quadruple homicide grabbed the attention of local TV news stations, which is actually what aided to the arrest of the perpetrators. It started when a man watching the news remembered seeing a truck at his apartment whose description matched that of Jason Befort's truck. Another resident of the apartment also recalled helping a man carry a large-screen TV to his room. Police were notified and arrived at the apartment, where they arrested Reginald Carr, who was later positively identified by Andrew Schreiber as being one of his robbers. Meanwhile, the mother of Jonathan Carr's girlfriend returned home to find him sleeping on the couch, Jason Befort's engagement ring in his possession. She called 911, and when police arrived, Jonathan noticed and attempted to flee, only to be apprehended after a short chase. Ann Walenta later positively identified both brothers in a lineup shortly before she died from her gunshot wounds. The resulting trial was a rather dramatic one: when a trauma surgeon reenacted the shooting of Ann Walenta, the description was so graphic that one of the jurors, a 51-year-old, fainted and had to be taken to the hospital for examination. Many evidence that was left behind at the crime scenes, as well as the testimony of Andrew Schreiber against Reginald and Jonathan, proved to easily overwhelm the testimonies defending them. In the end, the Carr brothers were found guilty of most of the counts against them: capital murder, aggravated kidnapping and robbing, rape (on all of the victims at the 12727 Birchwood Drive attack), and animal cruelty. The judge then sentenced them to be executed.
Recently, Wichita's judicial system found the death penalty to the Carr brothers as being unfair, as the jurors considered the circumstances of the testimonies both for and against the two to be equal. The decision to upturn the death penalty has been appealed, but it shows that there is a chance Reginald and Jonathan, along with other infamous Kansas-based killers, can legally escape execution. Reginald and Jonathan are both still currently on death row. Also, the case garnered controversy after no prima facie evidence of racial motivation was revealed, other than the victims of the crime spree were Caucasian and the Carr brothers were African-American. Subsequently, Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston decided not to treat the incident as a hate crime. However, several media commentators alleged that the crime didn't receive much airtime or space in the national mainstream media due to political correctness, with one even claiming that the media has a double standard regarding interracial offenses. Despite the accusations of limited news coverage regarding the incident, The Wichita Eagle commented that four young black people who were murdered only eight days before the crime spree received even less media coverage. This caused speculation to be raised over that this may have been due to the race of the victims.
Reginald and Jonathan would hold their victims at gunpoint with handguns as they robbed them. During the 12727 Birchwood Drive attack, they subjected the victims to many forms of sexual abuse in addition to robbing them; they also raped the women personally. They then killed said victims in a soccer field by shooting them execution-style in the back of the head.
- Numerous unspecified crimes committed by both pre-2000
- 2000: The "Wichita Horror":
- December 8: Andrew Schreiber, 23 (robbed at gunpoint only)
- December 11: Ann Walenta, 55 (was shot and mortally wounded; died three days later in the hospital)
- December 14: The 12727 Birchwood Drive attack (subjected all of the following to many forms of sexual abuse, robbed, abducted and shot execution-style in a soccer field; also killed the dog):
- Brad Heyka, 27
- Heather Muller, 25
- Aaron Sander, 29
- Jason Befort, 26
- "H.G.", 25 (pseudonym; barely survived)