Death penalty sought in Jewish site shootings
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) -- A Kansas prosecutor will seek the death penalty against a white supremacist from Missouri who was ruled competent Thursday to face trial on charges of killing three people at two Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe announced his intention to seek the death penalty at a hearing for Frazier Glenn Miller, 74, of Aurora, Missouri, who has said he felt it was his patriotic duty to kill Jews.
Miller is accused of killing Dr. William Lewis Corporon, 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, who were at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City on April 13 for a singing contest audition. He also is accused of fatally shooting 53-year-old Terri LaManno, who was visiting her mother at a Jewish retirement home in nearby Overland Park.
None of the victims was Jewish.
Miller, who has emphysema, was brought into the Johnson County courtroom Thursday in a wheelchair. After Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan scheduled a three-day preliminary hearing in March, Miller protested, shouting, "What about my speedy trial?"
After Howe announced his intention to seek the death penalty, Miller responded that he wasn't afraid because he is dying anyway. He offered to "grease the tracks" for prosecutors if they cooperated with him, but Ryan cut him off and said he needed to communicate through his attorneys.
Howe and Miller's attorneys declined to comment after the hearing. Miller has told the AP he wants to fire one of the attorneys, keep the other as an adviser and represent himself at trial.
Mindy Corporon, William Corporon's daughter and Reat Underwood's mother, issued a statement after Thursday's hearing saying the family respects the judicial process and has faith "that justice will prevail."
Ryan had ordered Miller last month to undergo a competency hearing after his attorneys expressed concerns about his ability to assist with some aspects of his defense. Miller responded angrily that the delays were meant to help the prosecutor get re-elected.
Miller said he became concerned during an emergency room visit in late March that he didn't have much time left to live. In several phone calls to the Associated Press, Miller said he killed the three because he thought he was dying and he felt it was his duty. He said he regretted shooting the teenager.
He has told the AP and other media outlets that he planned and executed the fatal attacks, and that it was his intent to use the trial as a means to "put the Jews on trial where they belong."
Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, is a Vietnam War veteran from southwest Missouri who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party.
He was the target of a nationwide manhunt in 1987, when federal agents tracked him and three other men to a rural Missouri home stocked with hand grenades and automatic weapons. He was indicted on weapons charges and accused of plotting robberies and the assassination of the Southern Poverty Law Center's founder. He served three years in federal prison.
Miller also ran for the U.S. House in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2010 in Missouri, each time espousing a white-power platform.