Left: Clockwise from top left: Jason Befort, Heather Miller, Aaron Sandler, Bradley Heyka; right: Ann Walenta.
By David in TN and Nicholas Stix
Twelve days ago, the Wichita Eagle had an article on the 10th anniversary of what has been called the “Wichita Horror,” or the “Wichita Massacre,” which took place in the early hours of December 15, 2000 in Wichita, Kansas. The article has several links to information that came out during the trial. It is not easy reading.
The victims were Jason Befort, Brad Heyka, Aaron Sander, and Heather Muller. The killers were Reginald and Jonathan Carr. There was one survivor, the girlfriend of Befort, who has been called “H.G.” in media accounts. She provided critical testimony.
The Wichita Horror murder house being combed over by police in December, 2000.
On December 7, 2000, Andrew Schreiber was carjacked at gunpoint and forced to withdraw money from ATMs before being released unharmed. The tires of his car were shot.
On December 11, 2000, Ann Walenta was critically shot by the same suspects. She died of her wounds on January 2, 2001.
Bullets would tie those crimes to the same gun used to kill the four others.
The case finally comes before the Kansas Supreme Court next month. This court has overturned every death sentence since the state reinstated capital punishment in 1994.
No one has been executed in Kansas since 1965. The last were the two killers of the Clutter family in 1959, the subject of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.
The Carrs’ appellate lawyers are arguing that the brothers should have been tried separately instead of together and that the brother who didn’t do the shooting shouldn’t face death. They claim that the testimony of the surviving woman was that the shots came one after another, indicating only one shooter. Jonathan Carr, his lawyer argues, “watched his brother kill the four victims,” according to the briefs.
The judge in the Wichita trial rejected the defense request for a jury from outside Wichita. This will likely be in the appeal.
Ballistics consultant Richard Ernest testifying at the Carrs' trial.
Judge Baumgartner, who presided over the Knoxville Horror trials, severed the case into separate trials for each suspect. This did remove a major appellate issue, along with having juries outside Knoxville for three trials.
Will the Kansas Supreme Court overturn one of the sentences? Or both of them?
Adding a touch of the surreal to the Carrs’ crimes, the Wichita Community Foundation (WCF) has instituted “The Forget Me Not Scholarship Fund,” ostensibly to remember Jason Befort, Brad Heyka, Aaron Sander and Heather Muller. The entire text of the WCF’s description of the fund follows below.
The Forget Me Not Scholarship Fund
(Online applications accepted, statewide focus)
***LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION NEEDED TO BE CONSIDERED***
The Forget Me Not Scholarship Fund was created in 2002 for the purpose of enabling young men and women in the State of Kansas to enroll in an accredited college, university, seminary, junior college or vocational technical college in the United States. Two scholarships are awarded annually: (1) to a high school senior graduating from an accredited high school in the State of Kansas, and (2) to a high school senior graduating from high schools in Cimarron, Dodge City, Pratt, Bishop Carroll (Wichita) and Kapaun/Mount Carmel (Wichita).
In September 2001, over 2,000 people participated in a commemorative race honoring the lives of Jason Befort, Heather Muller, Bradley Heyka and Aaron Sander, who died tragically on Dec. 15, 2000. The funds raised through this race form the basis of these continuing scholarship awards.
In his 26 years of life, Jason Befort gave it all he had. His determination was admirable and his love was genuine. He worked hard, he played hard and was intense in all aspects of his life. Jason was never without a smile or hello.
Competitive in sports, he was a perfectionist in every way. His loves included his family, his friends, the Cubs, the K-State Wildcats and life. They say you have to love yourself to pass it on. Jason did both.
Brad Heyka had a sincere love for life including his family and friends. His passion for life was catching and he enjoyed bringing people together and bringing out the best in them. Through this quiet leadership role he had attracted many new friendships in an ever-growing circle. His sense of humor should not be forgotten - it was contagious. His quick wit instantly brought a smile to your face. His passions included golf, KSU sports, competition, fairness, the desire to excel and concern for others.
Heather Muller was filled with a love for God, a love for life, and a love for children- especially her “teenies” with special needs. She had a rare talent for singing that she shared with all. Her prayer-filled life was a life of service to others of all ages and backgrounds. Heather impacted hundreds of people throughout her life and will continue to do so.
Aaron Sander graduated from high school in Cimarron, where his body now rests, before going to Wichita to earn a degree in finance from WSU. He spent the following six years working in the field of finance before taking the last six months of his life to discern a vocation in the priesthood. Aaron was a kind, gentle man, full of love and peace. He had a special charm that attracted many because he genuinely cared for those he met. He had a passion to learn and find his purpose in life, because he knew it was to serve God’s people.
Click here to apply online. Please mail a signed “hard copy” of your application, together with required attachments to the Foundation office at the address listed in the front of the Scholarship section.
Award notices will be posted on our website no later than May 15th.
“…who died tragically on Dec. 15, 2000.” A reader who didn’t know the real story would probably think that the four unfortunate young people had died in a car crash or a fire.
Clearly, the folks at WCF want everyone to forget how Jason Befort, Brad Heyka, Aaron Sander and Heather Muller died, i.e., to forget why “The Forget Me Not Scholarship Fund” exists.
The Catholic school where Heather Muller was a pre-K teacher, St. Thomas Aquinas, has instituted the “Heather Muller Love of Faith Award,” but likewise failed to explain the circumstances that inspired the award.
And while Wikipedia, or as I call it, The Pretend Encyclopedia, has an entry on the Carr brothers' crimes, censors have vigilantly deleted pictures of the respective victims and perpetrators, whenever an editor has posted them. One censor made the following complaint on the entry's talk page:
Black Profiling on this page
the first thing you see when you come to this page is two BLACK men. this is misleading because it makes people think that ALL blacks commit massacres. pleas fix the page with a better picture that doesnt make people thing black people commit massacres.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk • contribs)
And the misconduct of the Kansas Supreme Court clearly has nothing to do with the Kansas State Constitution, and everything to do with the personal political prejudices and contempt for the law of the people who have dominated that judicial body. Peter Brimelow’s call for impeaching outlaw judges is particularly germane here.
The classic exposé on the Carr brothers’ crimes is Stephen Webster’s American Renaissance article, “The Wichita Massacre: The crime — and motive — the media ignored. Of related interest is Richard Poe’s Front Page Magazine article, “The ‘Death Wish’ Question.”
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