Archive for Friday, October 18, 2002

Rape victim reveals STD in Carr trial

October 18, 2002

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— A woman who survived a rape and shooting surprised prosecutors Thursday by telling them she had contracted the same sexually transmitted disease a detective just testified one of the suspects had.

The woman alerted prosecutors after she watched live televised coverage of a police detective telling jurors that Reginald Carr had a sexually transmitted disease. About two months after the attacks, the woman said her doctor told her she had the same condition, Dist. Atty. Nola Foulston said.

Outside the jury's presence, Foulston told District Judge Paul Clark the woman had not disclosed that information to prosecutors earlier and the victim did not know one of the men arrested for the killings and rapes had the disease. Foulston said she informed defense attorneys of the surprise disclosure immediately after talking to the victim.

Reginald Carr and his brother Jonathan Carr face 113 charges, most of which stem from the events of Dec. 14-15, 2000, when five friends were abducted from a Wichita home, forced to engage in sexual acts and to withdraw money from ATMs before they all were shot. The two women were raped. Aaron Sander, 29; Brad Heyka, 27; Jason Befort, 26; and Heather Muller, 25, died. Befort's girlfriend, then a 25-year-old teacher, survived and ran naked for a mile to find help.

The brothers also are being tried in the Dec. 11, 2000, attempted robbery and shooting of Ann Walenta, 55, who later died, and a robbery four days earlier in which Andrew Schreiber was abducted and forced to withdraw cash from ATMs.

The issue of the sexually transmitted disease first came up in court Thursday when defense attorney John Val Wachtel was cross-examining police detective James Hosty. Hosty was guarding Reginald Carr at the hospital where medical staff took samples of his blood and hair as evidence. Hosty said he observed the disease at that time.

Heather Hull, a nurse who collected evidence samples from both brothers, later testified she observed one of the brothers had a sexually transmitted disease. Under cross-examination, Hull acknowledged she could not recall which had the disease.

Prosecutors then brought back to the stand the woman who survived the attack. She testified that months after the rapes, she developed symptoms of the disease.

With the jury gone to lunch, Val Wachtel told the judge he was surprised by the disclosure and should have objected to that testimony because the information had not been disclosed earlier. Val Wachtel moved for a mistrial.

Clark ruled that while the information should have been part of the evidence discovery process, it now could be handled with jury instructions.

"I'll find there is no fault as the district attorney didn't know it, nobody in law enforcement knew it until cross examination of detective Hosty was done this morning (and) then the witness made known her medical condition," Clark said.

Reginald Carr was not in the courtroom Thursday morning, and his absence was not explained to jurors.

But during court proceedings without the jury present, Clark heard a report from a security officer that Reginald Carr had made threats to officers at the correctional center.

Clark ruled Reginald Carr could be restrained during the court proceedings, but that he be brought in before the jury was seated and any restraints used not be visible to jurors. Reginald Carr returned to court in the afternoon, with his shackles discretely hidden.

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