The Wichita Massacre, also known as The Wichita Horror, was a murder/assault/rape/robbery spree perpetrated by brothers Reginald and Jonathan Carr against several people in the city of Wichita, Kansas in the winter of 2000. The Carrs killed five people and a dog. The crimes shocked Wichitans, and purchases of guns, locks, and home security systems subsequently skyrocketed in the city. The brothers were tried, convicted and sentenced to death in October 2002. Although it appeared that a 2004 decision by the Kansas Supreme Court overturning the state death penalty law was going to spare the Carrs, the decision was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the death penalty law and returned the Carrs and other condemned killers back to death row. The attacks, along with the reemergence of serial killer Dennis Rader and the murder of the Clutter Family in the 1950s, rank as the worst crimes in the history of Kansas.
The Carr brothers, 22-year-old Reginald and 20-year-old Jonathan, already had serious criminal records when they began their spree. On December 8, 2000, having recently arrived in Wichita, they committed armed robbery against 23-year-old assistant baseball coach, Andrew Schreiber. Three days later, they shot and mortally wounded 55-year-old cellist and librarian, Ann Walenta, as she tried to escape from them in her car; she died three days later.
Their crime spree culminated on December 14, when they invaded a home and subjected five young men and women to robbery, sexual abuse, and murder. The brothers broke into a house chosen nearly at random where Brad Heyka, Heather Muller, Aaron Sander, Jason Befort and a young woman identified as 'H.G.', all in their twenties, were spending the night. Initially scouring the house for valuables, they forced their hostages to strip naked, bound and detained them, and subjected them to various forms of sexual humiliation, including rape and oral sex. They also forced the men to engage in sexual acts with the women, and the women with each other. They then drove the victims to ATMs to empty their bank accounts, before finally bringing them to a snowy deserted soccer complex on the outskirts of town and shooting them execution-style in the backs of their heads, leaving them for dead. The Carr brothers then drove Befort's truck over the bodies.
They returned to the house to ransack it for more valuables, in the process killing Nikki, H.G.'s muzzled dog. H.G. survived (her plastic hairpin having deflected the bullet), after running naked for more than a mile in freezing weather to report the attack and seek medical attention. In a much-remarked point of tragedy, she had seen her boyfriend Befort shot, after having learned of his intention to propose marriage when the Carrs, by chance, discovered the engagement ring hidden in a can of popcorn. The Carr brothers, who took few precautions, were captured by the police the next day, and Reginald was identified by Schreiber and the dying Walenta. The District Attorney stated that the Carrs' motive was robbery.
Since there was reportedly no prima facie evidence of racial motivation, only that the victims were white and the Carr brothers are African-American, Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston decided not to treat the incident as a hate crime. David Horowitz, Michelle Malkin, and Thomas Sowell all stated that the crime did not garner much airtime or space in the national mainstream media due to political correctness. Sowell went on to claim that the media has a double standard regarding interracial offenses, tending to play up "vicious crimes by whites against blacks" but play down equally "vicious crimes by blacks against whites".
Muller was a pre-school teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School. Every year the school awards a deserving 8th grade student the Heather Muller Love of Faith Award.
- Prosecutors Downplay Racial Element in Kansas Murder Trial by Jim Burns, CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer, October 10, 2002
- The Wichita Horror, the brutal murders by Jonathan and Reginald Carr: The Heartbreak of a City by Denise Noe, Court TV's Crime Library
- 05/Nov/2002 CJOnline.com "Carr brothers found guilty"
- 16/Oct/2002 AIM Report: The Wichita Massacre
- Downplay Racial Element in Kansas Murder Trial by Jim Burns, CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer, October 10, 2002
- Black Racism: The Hate Crime That Dare Not Speak Its Name by David Horowitz, FrontPage Magazine, July 16, 2002
- Winona and the Wichita massacre By Michelle Malkin, Townhall.com, Friday, November 8, 2002
- Extensive account of the crimes by Court TV's Crime Library
- 'Wichita Massacre' Brothers Sentenced to Death
- Kansas v. Marsh decision by United States Supreme Court
- KAKE-TV news story on Wichita Horror survivors engagement to be married
- Was this Kansas killing spree a brotherly affair?, CNN and CourtTV