Supreme Court refuses appeals, finalizing Carr brothers death sentences
TOPEKA, Kan. (KAKE) - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear more appeals from the Carr brothers, meaning their convictions and sentences are considered final.
Johnathan and Reginald Carr were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for the deaths of four people in Wichita, Kan. in 2000. The brothers have exhausted their direct appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear any more.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett says there are several steps of appeals the Carr brothers could go through regarding if they got the right assistance. But Bennett says he's not surprised about the US Supreme Court's decision.
“I got to go in 2015 to the United States Supreme Court sit and there while Derek Schmidt and Stephen McAllister argued the two cases, sat at council table, I watched the Supreme Court's reaction to the case and the facts,” said Bennett.
In 2016, the court opted to reinstate the death sentences for the Carr brothers after Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt made an appeal in response to the Kansas Supreme Court overturning the ruling. Once the U.S. Supreme Court had reinstated their death sentences, the Kansas Supreme Court refused to hear any other appeals to the convictions and sentences.
Bennett says the brothers can still file what's called "indirect" appeals on how their case was handled.
He gives us an example of the process.
“District court judge here says I rule that they both got effective assistance, there was no problem with their attorneys. That is appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court, which sustains it,” said Bennett.
That appeal could go all the way to the highest court.
“If all of that has played itself out, and all of those appeals are done, then the last thing would be that last sort of third rail which is I want to challenge the manner death in which death is imposed in Kansas,” said Bennett.
Then after that.
“Then the last thing to do would be to issue the death warrant, and an individual would receive the death penalty,” said Bennett.