The Wichita Horror
A Turn of Events
By Rachael Bell
In March 2004 the courts made a ruling on the wrongful death lawsuit launched by the families of the victims. The families claimed that the "state was negligent because paperwork error allowed Reginald Carr to get out of prison early," thus paving the way for him and his brother to go on a deadly killing spree, Jeanene Kiesling said in a Wichita, Kansas's KAKE-TV article. It was further reported that the judge handling the case agreed with the families that the state did not do all it could for the victims and suggested that "the only issue left for a jury to decide is what, if any, damages the state should pay." It was believed that the families stood a chance at receiving up to $500,000 each, totaling around $1.5 million.
After six months, the state reached a settlement, deciding to pay out a total of $1.7 million to the relatives of the victims. The Associated Press reported in an October 2004 article that three of the families were to share one and a quarter-million dollars in damages, whereas the fourth family would receive $450,000. The compensation would never lessen the excruciating emotional pain that the families endured on a daily basis but it was a gesture that signified that the state made a tragic mistake.
The following December, the families of the victims faced the unexpected. They learned that the Kansas Supreme Court found that the state's death penalty statute was unconstitutional. Matthew Simon of KAKE News said that the law was found to be unfair to defendants because even "if jurors considering aggravating and mitigating circumstances during sentencing believe arguments on both sides to be equal," the prosecution is still "considered the winner."
Even though the decision is being appealed, there is a significant chance that