A Wichita mothers frustration over the way the courts have treated her son in a marijuana deal that turned deadly has inspired the latest challenge to Gov. Sam Brownback.
The Wichita Eagle
Jennifer Winn, a Republican and co-owner of a family landscaping business, has scheduled a rally Saturday to formally announce her candidacy for governor. She said she has been preparing her campaign since late September, when she filed papers appointing a treasurer.
Winn is the mother of Kyler Carriker, 22, who faces a charge of first-degree murder in Sedgwick County District Court in connection with an April drug deal that led to the death of Ronald Betts, 33, of Derby.
Winn said she was an ordinary businessperson who didnt pay much attention to government until her sons case went off like a bomb in her lap. She said he didnt kill anyone and that all he did was tell a friend where he could buy some marijuana.
Now, shes become an advocate for marijuana legalization, blaming criminalization of the drug for the lawlessness and danger that accompanies trading in it.
This is whats happening to our kids, she said. Im not going to sit back and do nothing.
She also is highly critical of what she considers overtaxation to pay for wasteful spending to keep nonviolent drug offenders in prison.
Winn strongly supports jury nullification, the legal theory that jurors can acquit a defendant regardless of what the law says if they believe a conviction would be unjust.
Prosecutors allege that Carriker helped arrange a marijuana transaction that turned into a gunfight when the purported customers attempted to rob the dealers for the drugs.
Last month, Kyle Beltz, 22, was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in Betts death during the chaotic exchange of gunfire.
Carriker is not alleged to have shot anyone and, according to his mother, was shot himself during the attempted robbery.
Hes being charged under a law that allows prosecutors to bring murder counts against anyone participating in a crime that results in a fatality.
According to court records, Carriker was expecting to receive a $50 finders fee from what was supposed to be a $1,100 marijuana sale.
Winn has no particular criticism of Brownback for what she says are systemic problems across government state, local and federal.
Asked why she chose to make her political debut in the race for the states top office, she answered, Why not?
She said she hopes her candidacy will inspire others to become involved in the political system.
People say Oh, youre just running to save your son, Winn said. I say No, Im running to save your son.
Winns rally is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at Kiwanis Park Recreational Building, 5101 W. Second St., Wichita.
Reach Dion Lefler at 316-268-6527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.