In December of 2000, two brothers went on a rampage of robbery, assault, and murder that shocked Wichita, Kansas and the nation. The brutality of the crimes committed by Reginald and Jonathan Carr stunned even the most hardened investigators, and the memory of the deadly spree is still burned into the psyche of those who call Wichita home.
Reginald and Jonathan Carr were ex-convicts who started their crime spree on December 8, 2000, shortly after they arrived in Wichita. That day, they robbed a 23-year-old man, making the victim drive to a number of ATMs before they dropped him off in a deserted area. Three days later, on December 11, the Carr brothers shot 55-year-old Ann Walenta, who attempted to escape as they tried to carjack her. Walenta would die weeks later, but she played a vital role in the capture of the Carr brothers.
On December 14, three days after Walenta’s shooting, Reginald and Jonathan Carr’s crime spree reached a shocking apex. The Carrs chose a house at random for a robbery. Five young people, three men and two women all in their 20s, were in the house that night. The Carr brothers forced their way into the home, confronted the five guests, and ransacked the home for valuables.
The brothers then forced the occupants of the house to strip naked. The Carrs raped the two young women repeatedly and forced the men and women to engage in sexual acts to humiliate them. Reginald Carr took one victim at a time to ATMs around town to drain their bank accounts while his brother Jonathan guarded the others at the house.
Reginald and Jonathan Carr then made a decision that would seal their fates and shock the residents of Wichita.
The brothers made all five victims get into two cars. The women wore only tops, no pants or shoes, and the three men were completely naked. The temperature hovered around 17 degrees as the Carrs drove to an isolated, snowy soccer field on the outskirts of town. All five victims were removed from the two cars and shot execution-style in the back of the head. The brothers then drove one of the victim’s trucks over the 5 bodies in the snow to try to ensure their deaths.
But Reginald and Jonathan Carr’s plan did not work out the way they had intended; they left a living witness behind. One of the women in the group, identified in the press only as H.G., miraculously survived both being shot in the head and being run over by the truck in the snowy field. A plastic barrette that H.G. had been wearing in her hair deflected the bullet fired into her head, saving her life. After the Carr brothers drove over her body and left the scene, H.G. tried to help the other victims. She used her sweater to try to stop the bleeding on one of the man’s heads, then left to get help.
Naked and barefoot, H.G. trudged through the snow in freezing temperatures for more than a mile until she reached a young married couple’s house. The couple let H.G. into their house. She recounted the horrific ordeal she and her friends had endured, and the couple called 911. H.G. was taken to a hospital, and she gave authorities a description of the truck the Carr brothers had taken from the house. The police put out an alert for the stolen truck.
Reginald and Jonathan Carr, believing all five victims had been killed, obviously were not aware that the police were looking for them, much less that the cops had put out a bulletin about the stolen truck. The next morning, at 7:30 a.m. on December 15, the truck was spotted at an apartment complex. Someone noticed a man carrying a TV set from the truck to an apartment. The area was sealed off and police knocked on the apartment door. Reginald Carr’s girlfriend answered the door, and police went in and arrested Reginald as he tried to climb out of a window. Carr’s girlfriend told police what kind of vehicle Jonathan Carr was driving, and police spotted and arrested him later that same day. Both Carr brothers were in custody, not even 12 hours after their night of terror had ended.
In addition to H.G.’s eyewitness account of the horrendous crimes the Carr brothers committed, Ann Walenta, who had been shot three days earlier, was also able to identify them as her attackers. Walenta died from her injuries a few weeks later, on January 2, 2001. Reginald and Jonathan Carr stood trial, were found guilty of a staggering number of crimes (93 counts between the pair), and were both sentenced to death. There were a number of appeals, and the Carrs’ case eventually wound up in front of the US Supreme Court, who maintained the Carr brothers’ death sentences. They are currently awaiting execution.
The case known as the Wichita Massacre is one of the most horrific and notorious crimes in the history of Kansas.
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