Frazier Glenn Cross appears at his arraignment on capital murder and first-degree murder charges. REUTERS/David Eulitt/The Kansas City Star/
The suspect in the killings of three people at two Jewish
facilities near Kansas City over the weekend has been charged
with capital murder and first-degree premeditated murder on a
state level, and federal charges are likely, prosecutors
The state charges, filed in Johnson County, Kansas, come as
U.S. prosecutors consider possible federal hate crimes
charges against the suspect, Frazier Glenn Cross.
Cross, who also goes by the name Frazier Glenn Miller and has
been living in Aurora, Missouri, is known by law enforcement
and human rights groups as a former senior member of the Ku
Klux Klan movement and someone who has repeatedly expressed
hatred for Jewish people.
Cross could be sentenced to death if convicted on the capital
charge of killing a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather
outside a Jewish community center on Sunday. And he faces
life in prison for the premeditated murder charge in the
killing of a woman at a nearby Jewish retirement home just
minutes after the first two victims were shot, said Johnson
County District Attorney Steve Howe.
Both facilities are in Overland Park, Kansas, an upscale
suburb of Kansas City, Missouri.
Howe said the capital murder charge gives prosecutors the
option of seeking the death penalty, but he had not yet
determined if he will pursue that. A conviction would carry a
sentence of life without parole automatically.
"I don't take that decision lightly," Howe said. "He's
committed some terrible crimes. This is about making sure
justice is done."
The count of premeditated first-degree murder brings a
sentence of up to life in prison, with parole not considered
for 25 years.
Cross, who is being held on $10 million bond, is scheduled to
make his first court appearance on Tuesday afternoon. Two
public defenders have been assigned to represent him.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading anti-hate group,
has tracked Cross for years, they said.
The group said he was involved in creating an armed
paramilitary organization in North Carolina 20 years ago and
is a "raging anti-Semite" who has posted online commentaries
such as "No Jews, Just Right" along with calls to
"exterminate the Jews." He served time in prison on weapons
charges and for making threats through the mail, the group
None of the victims in Kansas was Jewish. The boy and his
grandfather were members of an area Methodist church and the
woman attended a Catholic church.
But Kansas' U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said that it is the
bias and belief of the suspect, not the identities of the
victims, that determines whether or not hate-crime laws
Grissom said any federal charges in the case, which could
also bring a death penalty, were not likely to be filed for a
week or more.
Killed on Sunday were high-school student Reat Griffin
Underwood, who was with his grandfather, William Corporon,
69, outside the Jewish Community Center when they were shot.
The teenager was at the center to audition for a singing
competition, according to his mother, Mindy Corporon Losen.
Both victims were shot in the head. The grandfather died at
the scene and the boy died later at a hospital, police said.
The third victim was killed a little more than a mile (1.6
km) away, outside the Village Shalom retirement community.
Terri LaManno, 53, was making a regular visit to her mother
at the retirement facility when she was shot, police said.
LaManno, an occupational therapist, was married and the
mother of two, police said.