The Carr brothers were convicted of felony murder in the December 11, 2000 death of Ann Walenta, and capital murder in the deaths of Jason Befort, Brad Heyka, Heather Muller and Aaron Sander that happened several days later.
WICHITA, Kan. -- The Kansas Supreme Court is set to hear death penalty appeals next week for Jonathan Carr and Reginald Carr, Jr., convicted of several murders in Wichita that happened more than a decade ago.
"Even though 12 years have passed and people have come to assume that the process has already played itself out, we are at step one in this process," said District Attorney Marc Bennett, whose office will present the case for why the convictions and sentences should be upheld.
The Carr brothers killed five people in Wichita during a week-long crime spree in December of 2000. In 2002, they were convicted of five murders and the attempted murder of a sixth victim, and sentenced to death.
They appealed their convictions and sentences back in 2002. But because of dozens of court filings over the years, the appeal is just now making it into a courtroom.
Next Tuesday, the Kansas Supreme Court will hold oral arguments for Reginald Carr that morning and Jonathan Carr in the afternoon.
"What's at stake here is this is an appeal just like any other appeal that comes before the Kansas Supreme Court," Bennett said. "Both of these defendants are asking that their convictions be set aside in the first place."
Both men are challenging their convictions and death penalty sentences. Specifically, each is challenging the court's denial of their motion to change venue, motion to try them separately, sufficiency of evidence supporting numerous convictions, the validity of the court's instructions to the jury during the guilt and penalty phases and the constitutionality of the state's death penalty law.
If the convictions or sentences are overturned, the case would come back to Sedgwick County to be tried again or for a new sentencing hearing.
If the convictions are upheld, the brothers would then have to appeal to the federal court side, which they could work all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"There's a lot that is up in the air on this," Bennett said.
Given how rare death penalty cases are in Kansas, Bennett says these appeals are heading into a bit of uncharted territory.
No one has been executed in Kansas since 1965.
But Bennett says what he knows is that there will be more appeals to come that will take years to sort out.
"This is not the last appeal," Bennett said. "If we win or the defendants win, it's not over with next week."
KAKE News will be following developments in the case as they happen.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Several days after they killed their first victim, the Carr brothers forced their way into a Wichita home with five people inside. They forced three men and two women to engage in sex with each other, then made them withdraw money from ATMs. They were then shot in the back of the head as they knelt side-by-side on a snow-covered soccer field. One of them survived.
Both men were convicted of the following crimes:
-1 count of felony murder
-4 counts of capital murder
-1 count of attempted first degree murder
-5 counts of aggravated kidnapping
-Multiple counts of aggravated robbery
-1 count of aggravated burglary
-13 counts of rape
-3 counts of aggravated criminal sodomy
-7 counts of attempted rape
-1 count of burglary
-1 count of theft
-1 count of cruelty to animals
-Reginald Carr was also convicted of 3 counts of unlawful possession of a firearm