WICHITA, Kansas – The district attorney who prosecuted two brothers in a quadruple Wichita homicide is criticizing Gov. Sam Brownback’s use of the case in a new campaign commercial.
Brownback’s ad references Reginald and Jonathan Carr, whose death sentences for the December 2000 killings were vacated in July by the Kansas Supreme Court.
The brothers were convicted of killing 29-year-old Aaron Sander, 27-year-old Brad Heyka, 26-year-old Jason Befort, and Heather Muller at close range at a Wichita soccer field. One woman survived a gunshot wound to the head.
Former Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston issued a statement Wednesday saying the ad exploits the case for political gain. Read the full statement below.
Foulston says the ad is a “political last ditch effort” to undercut the qualifications and integrity of the Kansas Supreme Court and Brownback’s Democratic challenger, Paul Davis. She also says it’s disgraceful that the campaign would make the families of the murder victims relive the crime whenever they turn on their televisions.
Brownback’s campaign did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
FULL STATEMENT FROM FORMER DA NOLA FOULSTON:
“SamBrownback’s recent campaign ad involving thetragic loss of life of five citizens of the Wichita community gets two thumbs down! By trying to throw a life preserver to his declining campaign, Brownback panders to the emotions of citizens to suggest that in some way Paul Davis caused or created the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling in the Carr cases. I am very disappointed that the governor, who is also an attorney bound by the Rules of Professional Responsibility, has forgotten his legal obligations in a political last ditch effort to recklessly undercut the qualifications and integrity of the Kansas Supreme Court and Paul Davis. “
“While I am with the majority of citizens who are terribly disappointed with the decision of the court in State v. Carr, it is not for Brownback to raise the ire of our state’s citizens. His reckless comments only undermine public confidence in the administration of justice, andscheme to change the way Supreme Court Justices are chosen. He wants to have sole discretion in choosing who should sit on his court. The Carr cases are being appealed. There will ultimately be justice for the victims and their families.”
“Over the years, I have seen many politicians attempt to exploit the Carr case and other high profile criminal cases for political gain. Brownback’s actions are no less disturbing. If Sam Brownback wants to have a debate about judicial selection or the death penalty, that is an appropriate discussion to have. But to try to exploit this case and reopen the wounds and pain experienced by the families and this community for political gain is reprehensible.”
“This case has devastated our community for almost fourteen years. It is beyond disgraceful that Sam Brownback would exploit this tragedy and make the victims’ families relive that horrific crime every time they turn on their television just for the sake of getting re-elected. There is clearly no limit to what Sam Brownback will do or say to stay in office.
Sam Brownback should know better.”