TOPEKA – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Monday the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the state’s appeals of the Kansas Supreme Court’s decisions overturning the death sentences of Jonathan Carr, Reginald Carr and Sidney Gleason.
Sidney Gleason was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for the 2004 shooting deaths of Mikiala “Miki” Martinez and Darren Wornkey in Barton County. At the time of the murders, Gleason was living in Lyons and on parole following a conviction of attempted voluntary manslaughter. In July 2014, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld Gleason’s convictions, but reversed his death sentence.
Jonathan and Reginald Carr were convicted following a December 2000 crime spree involving multiple murders and various sex crimes. They were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for the execution-style murder of four people in an east Wichita soccer field following a home invasion. In July 2014, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld one conviction of capital murder with respect to both Jonathan and Reginald, but reversed their death sentences.
“We have carefully analyzed the opinions of the Kansas Supreme Court and we do not believe they have correctly applied the U.S. Constitution,” Schmidt said. “I am encouraged the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the cases.”
Gleason’s cousin and accomplice, Damian Thompson, avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty to Martinez’s murder, receiving a life sentence.
James Martinez, father of Mikiala, expressed frustration with the system.
“Mikiala and Darren didn’t have a choice. I don’t see why somebody that pulls a trigger has a choice,” he said.
“It’s not fair to all of the victims,” he said of the reversals of the sentences. “Why have the death penalty if you’re not going to use it? All we’re doing is wasting the taxpayers’ time and money."