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High court to hear Kansas plea to reinstate death sentences

March 30, 2015

The Supreme Court of the United States agreed Monday to hear Kansas' appeal to reinstate death sentences for two brothers in the fatal shootings of four people and for another man convicted of killing a couple.

The justices said they will review rulings by the Kansas Supreme Court that threw out the sentences of Jonathan and Reginald Carr and Sidney Gleason. The Kansas court hasn't upheld a death sentence since the state enacted a new capital punishment law in 1994. The state's last executions, by hanging, took place in 1965.

The Carr brothers were sentenced to death for the four killings, which occurred in Wichita in December 2000 and followed dozens of other crimes, including robbery and rape. Gleason was sentenced to die over the couple's deaths, in the central Kansas town of Great Bend in February 2004.

The justices said they will consider instructions given to jurors in the sentencing phase of capital trials about evidence favorable to the defendants. The court also will weigh whether sentencing the Carr brothers together violated their rights.

The cases will be argued in the fall.
 

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