Kansas Supreme Court mulls its leeway in death cases

In this combination of 2013 photos provided by the Kansas Department of Corrections, is Reginald D. Carr, left, and Jonathan D. Carr. (AP Photo/Kansas Department of Corrections)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Supreme Court is struggling with how much discretion it has to spare two brothers from execution for four notorious Wichita slayings following a U.S. Supreme Court decision against them.

The Kansas court heard arguments Thursday in the cases of Jonathan and Reginald Carr. They were convicted of dozens of crimes against five people in December 2000 that ended with the victims being shot in a field. One woman survived.

The Kansas court previously overturned their death sentences in 2014 in part because it believed it was unfair to have them tried and sentenced together rather than separately. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the U.S. Constitution didn’t require separate proceedings.

Attorneys for the men argued that the Kansas Constitution requires separate sentencing hearings.

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