Kansas Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, September 05, 2007, 06:00:18 PM

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Tuesday January 24, 2012 9:15 PM

Reporter: Parrish Alleman

Email Address: parrish.alleman@kake.com

Group Encourages Conversation About The Death Penalty

A local group is trying to encourage conversation about the death penalty, just as the Kansas House of Representatives prepares to vote on a bill that would end capital punishment in the state.






Granny B

They might as well end it.  They have not executed anyone since 1994.

Even for the arson deaths, by a father of his 2 own sons, ages 6 and 8 years old, in Liberal, KS, 5 years ago, they did not go for the death penalty.  The bastard had to even confess to get anyone to believe he did it, with an Oklahoma judge, our agency, the kids grandparents, and relatives, all telling the detectives he did it. 

Finally 2 years after he murdered the boys, his live in girlfriend got frightened of him and told the police he confessed he did it, and the cops still did not want to charge him with it.

If you want to get away with murder, go to Kansas.
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy


kansas needs to take out the trash!  i'm just beyond irritated with whats going on here in arkansas, but hopefully we will resume taking out the trash soon!



Monday, March 12, 2012

Bill abolishing death penalty to get cursory glance

Posted: March 11, 2012 - 3:49pm

By Samantha Foster


A House bill that would abolish the death penalty in Kansas and add the crime of aggravated murder with a sentencing of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole will receive an informational hearing Thursday, but it is doubtful any action will be taken.

Kansas had the death penalty statute until a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court ruling struck it down, but the court reversed its decision in 1976. Kansas reinstated the death penalty in 1994. The state hasn't carried out a death sentence since then, but nine Kansas capital inmates are currently awaiting execution with an additional capital inmate awaiting resentencing.

During the 2011 legislative session, the House bill to repeal the death penalty statute for crimes committed after July 1, 2012, and replace the punishment with life without the possibility of parole never received a hearing by the Federal and State Affairs Committee. Two separate Senate bills would have abolished the death penalty, but neither made it far. During the 2010 legislative session, the Senate was one vote short of passing a death penalty abolishment bill.

The bill, HB 2323, was introduced by the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice on Feb. 11, 2011, before being referred to Federal and State Affairs three days later. It didn't receive a hearing last year, but on Friday, Rep. Pat Colloton's secretary said the bill had been scheduled for an informational hearing before the federal and state affairs committee Thursday. Colloton, a Leawood Republican, is chairwoman of the corrections committee.

The last time an execution was carried out in Kansas was in 1965, when Perry Edward Smith and Richard Eugene Hickock were hanged by the state for the brutal murders of four members of the Clutter family in 1959 in Holcomb. Truman Capote wrote about the murders in the famous work titled "In Cold Blood." In the same year, George Ronald York and James Douglas Latham were tried and executed in Kansas after a cross country killing spree.

The current death penalty statute was enacted in 1994 when Gov. Joan Finney allowed it to become law without her signature.

The nine inmates awaiting execution in Kansas are:

■ James Kraig Kahler, convicted in October 2011 of murdering his estranged wife, Karen Kahler; two teenage daughters, Lauren and Emily; and Karen's grandmother, Dorothy Wight, in Wight's Burlingame home in November 2009.

■ Douglas Belt, convicted in November 2004 of capital murder, attempted rape and aggravated arson in the killing of Lucille Gallegos in Wichita. According to the Kansas Department of Corrections' KASPER records, he is being held at El Dorado Correctional Facility.

■ Reginald Carr, convicted of capital murder for the December 15, 2000, murders of Jason Befort, Brad Heyka, Heather Muller and Aaron Sander and of first-degree murder for killing Ann Walenta four days before the quadruple murder. He is being held at El Dorado.

■ Jonathan Carr, convicted of the same five murders as his older brother Reginald. He is being held at El Dorado.

■ Scott Cheever, convicted in November 2007 of killing Greenwood County Sheriff Matt Samuels in January 2005. He is being held at Lansing.

■ Sidney John Gleason, convicted in July 2006 in the shooting deaths of Miki Martinez and Darren Wormkey in February 2004. He is being held at El Dorado.

■ Gary Wayne Kleypas, convicted for the 1996 rape and murder of Carrie Williams in Pittsburg. He is being held at El Dorado.

■ John Edward Robinson Sr., convicted of capital murder in the deaths of Izabel Lewicka and Suzette Trouten and of first-degree murder in the case of Lisa Stasi, who disappeared in 1985 and was never found. He is being held at El Dorado.

■ Justin Thurber, sentenced to death for the January 2007 killing of 19-year-old college student Jodi Sanderholm. He is being held at El Dorado.

A 10th death sentence, that of Phillip Cheatham, is under litigation. Cheatham was convicted in September 2005 of one count of capital murder, two counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted first degree murder in the deaths of Gloria Jones and Annette Roberson. A third victim, Annetta Thomas, played dead and survived with 19 gunshot wounds. In 2010 he was granted resentencing, which hasn't yet been completed. He is being held at Lansing Correctional Facility.







Death sentence in 2004 Kansas murders overturned
July 18, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas' highest court Friday overturned the death sentence of a man convicted of capital murder in connection with the killings a decade ago of a Great Bend woman and her boyfriend after she'd witnessed a robbery.

The state Supreme Court ordered a new sentencing hearing for Sidney Gleason in Barton County District Court. A 5-2 majority concluded that the presiding trial judge gave flawed instructions to jurors before they considered whether he should be sentenced to lethal injection for the February 2004 murders of Miki Martinez and boyfriend Darren Wornkey.

The justices only narrowly upheld Gleason's convictions for capital murder and other crimes. The key issue was whether Gleason should receive a new trial because a cousin involved in the crimes reneged on a deal to testify against Gleason to escape a death sentence. A 4-3 majority ruled that Gleason's right to a fair trial wasn't violated when the judge had earlier testimony from the cousin read in court after declaring him unavailable as a witness.

A spokesman for Attorney General Derek Schmidt said his office is reviewing the decision and will respond next week.

Sarah Ellen Johnson, a capital appellate defender representing Gleason, said, "Obviously, we're pleased about the death sentence being vacated."

Gleason had been among eight men facing execution in Kansas. The state hasn't executed anyone since reinstating capital punishment in 1994 and the justices have yet to clear the way for any lethal injections.

Prosecutors said Gleason and his cousin, Damien Thompson, were part of a group that robbed and stabbed a 76-year-old man in his Great Bend home in February 2004. Gleason and Thompson were accused of plotting to kill Martinez because she'd been present and they worried about what she would tell police. Authorities said they also planned to murder Wornkey if he got in the way.

Gleason shot Workney several times as he sat in a Jeep outside a home he shared with Martinez, prosecutors said, and they drove Martinez out of town, where Thompson strangled and shot her as Gleason watched. Thompson later agreed to testify against Gleason and was sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years. But he refused to testify at Gleason's trial.


I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Jonathan and Reginald Carr death sentences overturned
Updated Monday, July 28, 2014

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday overturned death sentences for Jonathan and Reginald Carr, brothers convicted of murdering five people in one of Wichita's most notorious crime sprees.

The state's high court in separate rulings issued Friday unanimously struck down three of each man's four capital murder convictions in the Dec. 15, 2000, execution-style killings of four people in a snow-covered soccer field. A remaining capital murder conviction for each man was upheld by the court, but the death sentence connected to it was vacated after a 6-1 majority said the district court judge who presided over the brothers' trial - the late Paul W. Clark - was in error when he refused to hold separate sentencing proceedings for the men.

Justice Nancy Mortiz disagreed with the decision, saying that separate hearings would not have influenced the outcome because witness testimony, the "unusually egregious facts" of the case and evidence against the Carr brothers was so strong.

In overturning the capital murder convictions, the majority said the instructions to jurors had been flawed because the judge tied those capital murder charges to the rape of the surviving victim rather than the deceased ones. The majority also said three of the capital murder charges were duplicates of the first.

The court on Friday also narrowly rejected the brothers' contention, on a 4-3 vote, that all their convictions should be overturned because they were not given separate trials.

Justices affirmed 25 of Jonathan Carr's 43 convictions; 32 of Reginald Carr's 50 convictions were upheld.

The case has been remanded to Sedgwick County District Court for further hearings.

During a news conference held Friday in response to the rulings, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said his office is "committed to upholding the law and ensuring the safety" of Sedgwick County citizens. In response to a question, he told reporters he would seek the death penalty against the brothers a second time.

"The results of the decision by the Supreme Court creates one certainty: Jonathan and Reginald Carr will not be released from prison. The conviction for capital murder for each defendant carries with it a life sentence."

Under Kansas law, capital murder can be charged under several circumstances, including where a killing is intentional and premeditated and occurs during or after some sex crimes.

Today prosecutors can ask for the death penalty or a sentence of life in prison without parole eligibility. But the no-parole option was not on the books at the time of the Carr brothers' crimes, Bennett said Friday.

Earlier in the day, Bennett and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a joint statement saying that they are "carefully reviewing" the opinions and will "work closely together in the coming days and weeks to determine the next steps that must be taken in these cases."

"All options will be considered," Bennett and Schmidt said in the statement. "We are committed to seeking justice in this case for the victims, their families and the community."

The rulings sparked outrage across Kansas after they were handed down around 9:30 a.m. Friday. Gov. Sam Brownback called the brothers' crimes "brutal and heinous" in a news release and said that the high court's decisions "unnecessarily reopen the wounds from ... a tragic moment in Wichita history."
Brutal crime spree

The brothers were convicted in 2002 of terrorizing, robbing, sexually assaulting, kidnapping and murdering a group of young people on Dec. 15, 2000, as part of a seven-day crime spree across Wichita.

Jason Befort, 26, Brad Heyka, 27, Aaron Sander, 29, and Heather Muller, 25, were killed in an execution-style shooting after being forced to kneel in a frozen soccer field at 29th Street North and Greenwich.

A fifth victim, a 25-year-old woman who was shot in the back of the head and left for dead, survived and ran naked through the snow to a nearby house for help. Her escape tipped off a manhunt for the killers, who were arrested later that day. She later became a key witness at the brothers' trial.

Jonathan Carr, now 34, and Reginald Carr, 36, were in their 20s when the crimes occurred.

Bennett said in his news conference Friday that both sides can seek appeals to the court's rulings. He said it was too early to say whether decisions in the cases would be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"For anyone who has a sentence vacated ... you have to have a re-sentencing hearing," Bennett said. "You just can't do it with a document. There has to be another hearing where a judge imposes the other sentence."

It was unclear immediately after the rulings when those hearings would take place. Bennett said the next step for his office would be to read through and study the separate opinions issued in the case. Combined, the documents are nearly 500 pages.

Larry Heyka, the father of murder victim Brad Heyka, expressed disappointment and said he was struggling to make sense of the court's rulings.

"It seems like it takes a lot of time to get through these things, but we will do whatever it takes," said Heyka, who is from Council Grove. "Hopefully going forward, we will all understand what these rulings really mean."

In addition to the capital murder counts, the high court on Friday reversed several rape and attempted rape convictions that the Carrs received for forcing their victims to engage in sex acts with one another before the slayings.

Among other convictions affirmed by the high court Friday for each brother were first-degree felony murder in the Dec. 11, 2000, fatal shooting of 55-year-old Linda "Ann" Walenta during an apparent robbery and carjacking; and attempted first-degree murder, aggravated kidnappings, aggravated robberies and sex crimes tied to the quadruple homicide on Dec. 15.
Trial errors

Jonathan and Reginald Carr were tried and convicted in a joint trial in Sedgwick County District Court in 2002, despite requests to separate their trials. Jurors found Reginald Carr guilty on 50 counts; his brother was convicted of 43.

Both men were given the death penalty on each of the four counts of capital murder. Reginald Carr also was sentenced to one hard-20 life sentence, plus another 471/2 years in prison, according to a news release from the Kansas Judicial Center. Jonathan Carr received one hard-20 life sentence, plus an additional 41 years.

In their appeals to the Kansas Supreme Court, lawyers for the brothers argued that the Carrs should get new, separate trials because they damaged each other's defenses when they were tried jointly by Judge Clark, who died in 2011. Jonathan Carr's appellate attorney, Sara Ellen Johnson, said during oral arguments held before the high court on Dec. 17 that Reginald Carr engaged in courtroom "antics" that turned jurors against both brothers during their jury trial.

Lawyers also challenged the constitutionality of the Kansas death penalty law and argued that the district court judge's decision to seat a pro-death-penalty juror who eventually became foreman tainted the trial. The attorneys also said that the trial should have been moved out of Wichita because of media coverage of the crimes.

In its ruling, the Kansas Supreme Court identified 11 errors made during the sentencing phase of the Carr brothers' trial, but a majority said that the mistakes combined "pales in comparison to the strength of evidence against the defendants."

I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Kansas attorney general to appeal capital rulings
August 8, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Friday that he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate death sentences for two brothers over the fatal shootings of four people in a snow-covered soccer field and for another man convicted of killing a couple.

Schmidt notified the state Supreme Court that he is appealing its rulings in the cases of Jonathan and Reginald Carr and Sidney Gleason.

The Carr brothers were sentenced to lethal injection for the four killings, which occurred in Wichita in December 2000 and followed dozens of other crimes, including robbery and rape. Gleason was sentenced to die over the couple's deaths, in the central Kansas town of Great Bend in February 2004.

"In each case, we doubt the U.S. Constitution compelled the Kansas court to set aside the death sentences that were recommended by juries of the defendants' peers," Schmidt said in a statement.

Schmidt's office said the appeals will be filed by Oct. 16.

An attorney who represented both Gleason and Jonathan Carr did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.

The Kansas court hasn't upheld a death sentence since the state enacted a new capital punishment law in 1994, and the state's last legal executions, by hanging, were in 1965. It has five other men on death row.

The rulings in the Carr brothers' cases prompted criticism from the Republican-dominated Legislature because the crimes were among the most notorious in the state since the 1959 killings of a western Kansas farm family that inspired the classic book, "In Cold Blood."

Authorities said the Carr brothers broke into a Wichita home and forced the three men and two women inside to have sex with each other and repeatedly raped the women. The brothers forced them to withdraw money from ATMs before taking them to the field, where one woman survived a gunshot wound to the head and ran naked through the snow for help.

The Kansas court ruled that the brothers should have had separate sentencing hearings, instead of a joint one.

In Gleason's case, the same court said the presiding judge gave flawed instructions to jurors about weighing evidence in favor and against recommending a death sentence. One victim was a woman who'd witnessed a robbery in which he was involved. The other was her boyfriend, and authorities said Gleason shot him as he sat in a Jeep.

I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.


Notorious serial killer John Robinson appeals death sentence to Kansas Supreme Court
Mar 24, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. - Notorious serial killer John Robinson Sr. asked the Kansas Supreme Court to appeal his death sentence.

The appeal came more than a decade after his trial ended in a death sentence in 2003.

Robinson, 71, stuffed the bodies of several victims into barrels in both Missouri and on his Linn County, Kan. property.

Robinson pleaded guilty for the five women he killed in Missouri but, on Tuesday, he appealed the three killings in Kansas.

A Kansas jury convicted and sentenced him to die in 2003 for the deaths of 27-year-old Suzette Trouten, of Newport, Mich., and 21-year-old Izabela Lewicka, of West Lafayette, Ind.

He also received a life sentence for the murder of a third woman, Lisa Stasi, whose body was never found.

Detectives found Stasi's daughter alive in 2000 in Chicago. Robinson's relatives adopted her, unbeknownst to them, in a sham adoption.

The state's high court on Tuesday heard three hours of legal challenges involving the case of 71-year-old Robinson.

Attorneys have written hundreds of pages of legal arguments, and Robinson's attorneys have raised dozens of issues in the appeal.

One issue Robinson's attorney, Paige Nichols, argued was that a juror brought a Bible into the death penalty deliberations.

Nichols told the high court a person can use the Bible for reflection and devotions but that only the law should be used to help a juror come to a verdict.

"The juror did say he was searching the Bible. The fact, he bookmarked it and then took it into the courthouse the next day also suggests he was not simply consulting it for comfort or sustenance but rather to aid in his deliberations," Nichols argued.

The state said the judge quickly had the Bible removed before a death sentence was recommended.

The Kansas Supreme Court could take months to decide whether Robinson stays on death row or gets a new trial.

I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

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