Man Facing Felony Murder Charge For Telling an Acquaintance Where He Could Find Marijuana
Wichita, KS — Kyler Carriker is a loving husband and a father whose life could be ruined because of the ridiculous nature of the state’s war on drugs.
According to Carriker’s family, on April 17, 2013, Carriker and a friend had finished work and were headed out to go fishing. They were stopped by a train where they ran into Carriker’s former classmate. Carriker was asked if he could find any marijuana. Carriker said he could try, so they exchanged telephone numbers.
What Carriker didn’t know was that his old classmate from school had since become an active gang member. The former classmate planned to rob Carriker and anyone else involved in the marijuana transaction.
Carriker agreed to meet his former classmate at his friend Kyle Belts’ home to introduce him to to the marijuana dealer, Ronald Betts. However, the former classmate arrived with several other gang members, and later testified in court that the plan was to rob Carriker, Belts and Betts.
Almost immediately upon entering Belts’ home, the gang members began firing. Carriker and Betts were both shot and Betts died from his injuries.
According to Carriker’s family, after leaving the home, the shooter bragged to the other gang members, saying he had “killed them all.”
After the shooting, Kyler Carriker was charged with Betts' murder since he had acted as a middleman in the marijuana sale.
The state of Kansas added marijuana offenses to the list of inherently dangerous felonies, or crimes where death is likely to occur. The law was amended on July 1, 2013, three months after the incident involving Carriker. However, the state retroactively applied this law to Carriker’s case.
Carriker did absolutely nothing morally wrong; he merely lined up a potential trade deal between two other people. In the process, he and his friend became victims of an armed robbery. For being victimized by gang members, Carriker now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison, without the possibility of parole.
Ronald Betts' death was a result of the robbery and not a marijuana deal, as deals do not involve one party killing the other. However, the court has ruled that Carriker’s attorney cannot use this as a defense, despite the ruling of State v. Beach, which dictates that an extraordinary intervening event [the robbery] can be presented as the cause of death, according to the family.
The court has also ruled in favor of prosecutor Trinity Muth’s motion in limine to suppress all information pertaining to the robbers’ gang affiliations. This means the jury will not be told that Carriker had no ties to gangs and that the robbers were all documented gang members.
By pursuing murder charges in this fashion, the court is essentially saying that marijuana is more dangerous than armed robbery.
All of this injustice is facilitated by a flawed legal doctrine called the felony murder rule. While the felony murder rule is most commonly used to defer the liability of police who kill innocent people during the pursuit of a criminal, in this instance, it’s being used to bolster the prosecutor’s conviction rate by charging an innocent man with murder.
On Monday, Carriker’s trial began. Jennifer Winn, Carriker’s mother and a former gubernatorial candidate has helped to raise awareness for her son’s railroading by the justice system. Advocates of jury nullification and ending the drug war all showed up to court yesterday to voice their support for Carriker. However, in true tyrannical fashion, the judge ruled that T-shirts showing support for Carriker are now illegal and can not be worn to court.
The irony here is that had the state not outlawed marijuana effectively pushing its sale into dark alleys and criminal elements, Kyler Carriker would not be facing the possibility of never seeing his children again.
This case is one of the worst travesties of the justice system’s war on marijuana in recent history, and the mainstream media is silent. Please help this family seek #JusticeforKyler.