Murder charges against white supremacist go to jury in Kansas

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 31, 2015 3:36 PM

By Kevin Murphy

OLATHE, Kan. (Reuters) - A jury on Monday began deliberating the fate of a Missouri white supremacist charged with murdering three people, including a boy, outside two Jewish centers in Kansas last year.

Frazier Glenn Cross, 74, who has been representing himself at trial, admitted on the witness stand on Friday that he committed the murders but wants to be found not guilty.

He said he was motivated to kill Jews because he believes they have too much power and are destroying the white gentile race. None of the people he killed were Jewish.

Cross could be sentenced to death if convicted of the April 2014 killings of Reat Underwood, 14, and his grandfather William Corporon, 69, outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, as well as Terri LaManno, 53, outside a nearly Jewish retirement home.

Cross said he did not learn that none of his victims were Jewish until six days after the murders. He said he regretted shooting Underwood because of his age but that he considered Corporon and LaManno accomplices to Jews.

Cross, also known as Glenn Miller, is also charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at three other people outside the facilities. 

In his closing statement on Monday, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe cited a "mountain of evidence" against Cross, including eye witnesses, DNA and Cross' own admission of the crimes.

"Clearly, his vision, his goal was to kill as many people as possible at those two facilities," Howe told jurors.

Objecting to Howe's statement, Cross said he was not trying to kill people but people who were Jews.

Cross has been argumentative throughout the trial and Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan ordered Cross removed from the courtroom from a period on Monday after he repeatedly interrupted the proceedings and declared that Ryan was carrying out an unconstitutional trial. The jury was not in at the time.

Before his closing statement, Cross wrote on a blank courtroom poster board the words: "Diversity is a code word for white genocide."

Cross, who is in a wheelchair and has sometimes used an oxygen tank due a lung illness, told jurors that he risked his life that day in April of last year to do something important for the cause of white people.

"Everything I did was for you, for your children, your grand children and for future generations of our people," Cross told the jury.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Carey Gillam and Sandra Maler)