Wichita Case of Black Racist Crime Survivor’s testimony horrifies courtroom

Posted on 10/10/2002, 11:08:59 AM byGaryMontana

Posted on Wed, Oct. 09, 2002

Survivor’s testimony horrifies courtroom The woman who survived the quadruple homicide in 2000 takes the stand in the second day of testimony in the Carr brothers trial.

More photos Dave Williams/The Wichita Eagle Crime Scene Investigator Kevin Brasser displays the keys her collected from a victims car during day two of the Jonathan and Reginald Carr trial in Sedgwick County District Court.

Gruesome crime scene photos and chilling testimony Tuesday from the lone survivor of a quadruple homicide nearly two years ago created a disturbing second day of state’s testimony in the capital murder trial of Jonathan and Reginald Carr.

Jurors left the courtroom of Judge Paul Clark staring at the floor as family and friends of the victims waited silently to be dismissed.

Reginald Carr, one of two brothers facing the death penalty if convicted, looked at faces glaring back at him as court guards marched him back to jail. Jonathan, his younger brother, looked straight ahead.

Prosecutors had spent the first day and a half reconstructing events surrounding the shooting of five people, and the killing of four, in a snow-covered soccer field on Dec. 15, 2000.

Seats that had been full during the first day of testimony emptied at midmorning Tuesday as Wichita police crime scene investigator Kevin Brasser took the stand.

Brasser worked alone in the dark that morning collecting evidence and taking pictures at 29th Street North and Greenwich Road, where the bodies were found. The jury sat expressionless as they looked at Brasser’s graphic photos, displayed under repeated defense objections.

But Clark’s small court filled again after lunch, when the sole survivor of the attack, a one-time schoolteacher, retold her story. The only vacant seats were the ones next to Jonathan and Reginald Carr’s mother.

The state’s eyewitness, who testified 18 months ago at a preliminary hearing, once again calmly recounted her nightmare.

She told of two black men armed with guns breaking into the home of her boyfriend, Jason Befort, of then being raped and sodomized and of watching her friends beaten.

She said all the men wanted to know when they burst in around 11 p.m. on Dec. 14, 2000 was: Who has money?

“None of us had any cash on us,” she said.

Have any ATM cards?

“We all raised our hands.”

How much money do you have in the bank? the attackers asked, she said.

Each had between $200 and $1,500, she recollected. “They were not irrational, they were just shouting and very demanding,” she said.

District Attorney Nola Foulston asked what she thought would have happened if they didn’t comply with those demands.

“We were under the impression they’d probably shoot us,” said the woman.

Since the day of the crime, she has not been identified because of an Eagle policy of not printing the names of sexual assault victims.

She told of assaults and sodomy in detail, as everyone — including the Carrs — kept their eyes on the witness stand. The jury watched her intently, looking down to occasionally take notes.

Family members and friends of Befort, Aaron Sander, Heather Muller and Brad Heyka sniffled and tried to hold back tears.

“Oh, God, no,” one person whispered as the woman told of one horrific sexual attack on another man that had her fearing for her boyfriend’s life.

She said the attackers kept some of them in a bedroom closet while taking one or two out at a time to assault them or give orders at gunpoint.

Just before midnight, the stockier of the two men began taking each of them in Befort’s Dodge Dakota to automatic teller machines, forcing them to withdraw money, she said. When it was her turn to drive, she said the man kept fiddling with the radio, trying to find a music station he liked.

“Oh, Christ,” someone from the gallery sighed in disbelief.

But en route to and from a Commerce ATM at 21st Street and Webb Road, she said the man told her he wouldn’t shoot anyone.

“I said, ‘Do you promise?’ ” she remembered.

“He said, ‘Yeah, I’m not gonna shoot you.’ “

She said she later told her friends.

“As I got back in the closet I said, ‘I think we’re gonna be OK.’ I said, ‘He said he’s not going to shoot us.’ “

During the hours of agony, the woman learned that Befort had bought an engagement ring for her. One of the intruders found the ring in a popcorn tin.

“Is this the only one?” she remembered the intruder asking, wanting to know if there was any more jewelry.

That’s all, Befort told him. She said the bigger man then said something that made her think he had taken back his earlier promise.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to shoot you yet,” she remembered him saying before he raped her. It was the second time she had been raped that night.

“Were you able to see or look at this individual?” Foulston asked.

“I did,” the witness answered.

During the preliminary hearing, the woman positively identified Jonathan Carr, but not Reginald Carr.

On Tuesday, she said she saw both men, but was not asked to identify them.

She saw the second man in the bathroom, as he attacked one of her friends.

“And were you able to get a good look at him?” Foulston asked.

“Yes,” she said, “I was.”

Her testimony continues this morning.

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