(CNSNews.com) - Speaking out for the first time since the Carr brothers' trial began, the mayor of Wichita, Kan., says he believes the two African-American men should receive the death penalty, which is what prosecutors are seeking in the case.
Mayor Bob Knight, who has made improving race relations in Wichita a goal of his administration, told reporters Friday that regardless of race and ethnicity what occurred could be described as "raw, brutal and evil." Knight generally opposes capital punishment.
"You have innocent people tortured, killed, humiliated by someone who is little more than an animal. I'm not looking at it as a black and white issue," Knight said. " I am not a big fan of capital punishment, but if anything deserves people losing their lives, it is this kind of heinous crime."
Reginald and Jonathan Carr are charged with 113 counts of murder, robbery, rape and other crimes stemming from the murders of five white people and the wounding of a sixth. The December, 2000 shooting spree has become known locally as the "Wichita Massacre" and the "Wichita Horror."
Prosecutors are not trying the case as a hate crime. District Attorney Nola Foulston believes robbery was the brothers' motive.
But some say if the races had been reversed -- white suspects and black victims -- this most certainly would have been tried as a hate crime.
The trial continues Monday. Andrew Schreiber, allegedly robbed by the Carr brothers, will continue his testimony. Also expected to testify are family members of the victims who are expected to help identify property found inside an apartment where police arrested Reginald Carr.
E-mail a news tip to Jim Burns.
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.