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Kansas Supreme Court upholds death sentence of convicted murderer Kyle Flack

Kansas Supreme Court

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence of Kyle T. Flack, rejecting Flack’s claim that the conviction was unlawful because police continued to interview him after he demanded to be taken to jail.

The court ruled that Flack’s argument was not sufficient because a suspect’s demand for the right to remain silent must be without ambiguity.

“Flack's ‘take me to jail’ comments lead to multiple interpretations — rendering his communication unclear,” the court said in the ruling.

A Franklin County jury convicted Flack of capital murder in 2016 for killing three adults and a child. According to the Kansas Reflector, Flack lived with the victims and owned the shotgun used in the killings. He was also seen throwing away the victims’ belongings when police captured him in Emporia.

Kyle T. Flack was convicted and sentenced to death in 2016 for killing three adults and a child.
Kansas Department of Corrections
Kyle T. Flack was convicted and sentenced to death in 2016 for killing three adults and a child.

The Reflector reports Flack’s attorney argued in 2022 that Flack repeatedly asked to be taken to jail during questioning and that officers should have realized Flack was trying to exercise his right to end the interrogation.

Justice Evelyn Wilson dissented with the majority of the court on Flack's right to silence. She said in her dissent that she would have vacated the murder convictions and death sentence and remanded the case back to trial.

The ruling again reaffirms the death penalty in Kansas, where the court’s review of capital punishment is mixed. In 2004, the state’s high court ruled the death penalty was unconstitutional. But the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision in 2005, reinstating the penalty.

In 2014, the state court struck down a death penalty sentence for brothers Jonathan Carr and Reginald Carr, who were convicted for a series of crimes in Wichita, including robbery, kidnapping and murder. But the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that ruling as well.

The state court then upheld the brothers' capital murder convictions in 2022, ruling that the sentence does not violate the brothers’ “inalienable right to life” in the state constitution.

Kansas has not executed a death row inmate since 1965. Currently, nine inmates in Kansas prisons have been sentenced to death, including Flack.

Dylan Lysen reports on social services and criminal justice for the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Threads @DylanLysen or email him at dlysen (at) kcur (dot) org.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy.

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Dylan Lysen