Kansas jury to weigh death penalty in Jewish center murders

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 08, 2015 7:03 AM

By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Reuters) - A Kansas jury could decide on Tuesday whether a Missouri white supremacist should be sentenced to death in the killings of three people outside two Jewish centers in April 2014.

Frazier Glenn Cross, 74, a former senior member of the Ku Klux Klan, was found guilty in August of the murders he told jurors he had committed. He is seeking life in prison, but told the jury last week he was not afraid should they decide he should die.

Cross was found guilty of killing 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 Jewish retirement home in Overland Park, Kansas.

The jury also convicted Cross of three counts of attempted murder for shooting at three other people. Cross said he assumed everyone he shot at was Jewish. None of the dead were Jewish.

Cross, also known as Glenn Miller, suffers from emphysema and was wheeled into and out of the courtroom during a two-week trial in which he represented himself. He frequently clashed with Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan, who ordered Cross removed from the courtroom three times.

Cross took the stand in his own defense, admitting to jurors that he committed the killings. He said he hated Jews, who he said control the media, financial institutions and the movie industry, and wanted to kill as many as he could.

Cross talked to the media and public during the trial, made comments to jurors and complained that his rights were being violated.

His son, Frazier Glenn Miller III, was among the several witnesses whom Cross called last week.

Miller told jurors he loved his father and was surprised by his crimes and the motives behind them. "I don't agree with him at all," Miller testified.

Kansas restored the death penalty in 1994, but no one has been executed in the state since 1965. Nine inmates are now on death row, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by David Bailey and Dan Grebler)