TRUE CRIME: The Wichita Massacre
Ed note: So far in this column, we've posted about a genius high school drop-out who conned his way through surgeries and Yale, a cheerleader who masterminded a small town bank robbery with her policeman husband, and a man who hijacked a cargo jet. Today's story is considerably more gruesome. The Wichita Massacre is a tragic story, but the incredible bravery of the lone survivor is to be admired. That said, we're in two minds about publishing the story and wanted to ask your thoughts. Should we stick to the previous style of articles or should we continue mixing in violent crimes in the future? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Twenty-two-year-old Reginald Carr and his younger brother, 20-year-old Jonathan, already had lengthy criminal records by the time they settled in Wichita, Kansas. This story, however, begins on the evening of December 8, 2000, when the pair confronted 23-year-old Andrew Schreiber, an assistant baseball coach at Newman University, as he exited a convenience store. They forced him into his car at gunpoint and ordered him to drive to several different ATMs, where they had him withdraw money and hand it over to them. They ultimately left him unharmed but badly shaken in a field after shooting out the tires of his vehicle.
Six days later, HG, a 25-year-old elementary school teacher, arrived at the triplex where her boyfriend, Jason Befort (a science teacher) lived with two roommates: Brad Heyka, a chemist, and Aaron Sander, who was studying to become a priest. HG settled in front of the TV and began grading papers when Heather Muller, a friend of Aaron Sander's showed up. The five friends watched TV and eventually retired to their various bedrooms. HG was woken from her sleep shortly after by loud voices and the bedroom door being kicked open. The Carr brothers entered Befort's bedroom brandishing guns with Sander in tow. (To this day, no one is sure how the pair gained entrance into the triplex.)
One brother held the three captives at gunpoint while the other roamed the complex and found Heather and Brad and brought them upstairs. The pair ordered their hostages to get undressed, and proceeded to beat the males with golf clubs while taking turns sexually assaulting the females. The brothers then asked "Who has ATM cards?" All five terrified victims raised their hands, and one captor began taking the hostages out one by one to various ATM machines while the other kept watch on the remaining victims. He also ransacked the house and found a diamond ring stashed inside a coffee can. "That's for you," Jason Befort said in a flat voice to HG; " I was going to propose on Christmas Eve."
(Jason Befort, Brad Heyka, Aaron Sander, Heather Muller) After each victim had drained his or her bank account via ATM withdrawals, the entire group was forced to get into Sander's Honda Accord "“ the nude men in the trunk, the females (who'd been allowed to don sweaters) in the back seat. They were driven to a snow-covered soccer field, ordered out of the car, then instructed to kneel down in a row. One by one, the Carr brothers shot each of their captives in the head. HG recalls seeing "white stars" but not being knocked unconscious. Nevertheless, she fell down and feigned death.
HG'S INCREDIBLE STORY
When HG heard the Carr brothers drive off, she called out to her friends. Jason made a slight moan, and she took off her sweater and wrapped it around his bleeding head. She then looked around and saw Christmas lights in the distance. Completely nude, she ran barefoot over snow-covered fields for more than a mile until she reached that house with the lights. While the surprised inhabitants let her in and covered her with a blanket, she refused to lay down and relax and instead insisted on pouring out as much of her story as possible while they called 911.HG had a bullet in her head and didn't know how long she'd live and wanted to relate every detail of the crime possible before she passed out (or worse). Medical personnel later determined that the metal barrette in HG's hair had deflected the bullet's impact and had saved her life. Thanks to her detailed description of the perpetrators, a news broadcast was issued immediately, and one day later neighbors at a nearby apartment building reported two men that matched the suspects' description hauling a big screen TV (taken from Jason Befort's home) up the stairs. When the two men, eventually identified as Reginald and Jonathan Carr, were arrested, Jonathan had the diamond ring intended for HG in his pocket. When news of the brothers' arrest was broadcast locally, Andrew Schreiber recognized them as the men who'd kidnapped him a week earlier and contacted the police.
LOVE AND JUSTICE
The Carrs were tried for 113 crimes, including capital murder, kidnapping, rape and robbery. They were convicted on almost every count, and were sentenced to the death penalty. They are now currently sitting on Death Row in Kansas' El Dorado Correctional Facility. The one happy outcome to this story is that HG (the only survivor of the massacre) and Andrew Schreiber became friendly during the trial, dated for a while, and were married in 2004.