The Wichita Horror
A Ticket and a Tape
In the face of that mountain of evidence, the defense looked pitifully weak.
Jonathan Carr's attorneys pinned his case on a ticket — and an unused ticket at that. In his opening statement, Mark Manna told the jury that his client had planned to catch a train at the time of the quadruple homicide but got lost leaving Wichita. They entered that Amtrak train ticket, dated the morning of the murders, into evidence, then rested.
Lawyers for Reginald Carr failed to get their major evidence admitted. Reginald wanted to take the stand to claim that Jonathan had told him he had been with a man who was "tripping" and "shooting people." He also wanted to say he moved the loot from the robberies into Donley's apartment to help his brother who was involved in the crimes along with the unknown partner.
The judge ruled such testimony would be inadmissible hearsay.
Val Wachtel tried to enter into evidence medical records he said would suggest that Ann Walenta died due to medical malpractice. The judge denied the request.
Strangely, Reginald's attorneys had the police interview with H.G. re-played for the jury. They did not give a reason but observers believed they wished to emphasize the vagueness of her description of Reginald.
Some of the jurors appeared distressed as the tape played. H.G. left the courtroom.
DNA expert Jami Harman took the stand for Reginald. She pointed out that since Reginald and Jonathan are brothers, DNA taken from H.G. could not be said with certainty to come from both of them. On cross-examination, Harmon conceded that blood stains on Reginald's clothes were those of Heather Muller.
In closing argument, prosecutor Kim Parker told the jury, "This is a crime driven by greed and lust, by selfishness and driven by twisted sexual gratification."
In their summations, defense attorneys for each Carr brother pointed fingers at the other. Wachtel emphasized that there were inconsistencies in witness identification and noted that DNA at the crime scene belonged to Jonathan rather than Reginald.
Mark Manna reminded that jury that both Ann Walenta and Andrew Schreiber had identified Reginald but not Jonathan. Reginald was the one found with most of the belongings stolen that night, Manna elaborated. "Reginald Carr was not alone," Manna said, "but the evidence will show who was playing the lead role that night — directing things, taking things. . . . Don't just go back there and check the box guilty on all counts, please consider [Jonathan's] guilt and innocence separate from damning evidence against his brother, Reginald."
The defendants looked stoical as the verdicts were read.
Relatives of the victims seemed relieved. They hugged each other as well as people involved in the investigation and prosecution.