Supreme Court says Kansas court wrongly overturned Carr death sentences
The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Kansas officials seeking to reinstate the death penalty for three men, including two brothers convicted in a crime spree known as the "Wichita massacre."
The prosecutor and District Attorney at the time, Nola Foulston, said the crime was terrible.
"It really tore the hearts out of everybody in law enforcement, in the community," Foulston said. "Dealing with the families who were so nice."
In an 8-1 ruling, the justices say the Kansas Supreme Court was wrong to overturn the sentences of Jonathan and Reginald Carr, and Sidney Gleason, who was convicted in a separate case.
The state court said juries in both cases should have been told that evidence of the men's troubled childhoods and other factors weighing against a death sentence didn't have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The lower court also had ruled that the Carr brothers should have been sentenced separately.
The Supreme Court says the Kansas court's reasoning was flawed on both counts.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the decision.
"Their acts of almost in conceivable cruelty and depravity were described in excruciating detail by the sole survivor, who for two days, relived the Wichita massacre with the jury," Scalia wrote.
"And then the rubber stamp comes down by the U.S. Supreme Court that says, you did it. You did the right thing," said Foulston.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett told the families of the victims about the ruling including the one survivor of the home invasion identified only as HG.
"The relief those families must have felt to get this was palpable," said Bennett. "And the idea that HG won't have to come back and testify is ... why I'm sitting here right now."
To read the court's decision, click here.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.