Archive for Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Jury to weigh death sentence for man in Jewish site killings

September 1, 2015

— Jurors who convicted a white supremacist of killing three people at Jewish sites in Overland Park will begin hearing more evidence Tuesday before deciding whether to recommend a death sentence.

Jurors convicted Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. on Monday of capital murder and five other charges. The August 2014 shootings killed William Corporon, 69, and Corporon's 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, and Terri LaManno, 53, at the nearby Village Shalom retirement center. None of the three was Jewish.

Miller, 74, of Aurora, Missouri, is acting as his own attorney. He may get the opportunity to present evidence during the penalty phase about his beliefs and mindset that he was barred from discussing earlier in the trial.

His standby attorney, Mark Manna, said Miller had witnesses coming in throughout the week, with the latest to arrive Friday morning. They include family, a veteran with whom Miller served in Vietnam and two experts on the cost of the death penalty. The prosecution said the state would call just one witness.

Miller has repeatedly been warned to watch his step with Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan, who twice removed Miller from the courtroom Monday. The judge said Miller had "gone far beyond what is proper decorum."

When the verdict was read, Miller said "The fat lady just sang," and raised his arm in the Nazi salute. Although Miller admitted to killing the three people, he urged jurors to find him not guilty, saying he was motivated by "the genocide against my people by the Jews." He likened his cause to George Washington's fight for American independence.

During his closing argument, Miller said he had been "floating on a cloud" since the killings. Earlier, he objected when District Attorney Steve Howe alleged that he wanted to kill as many people as possible. Miller interjected: "I wanted to kill Jews, not people."

A death sentence could be largely symbolic; Miller has emphysema and has repeatedly said that part of what spurred him to carry out the killings was that he didn't expect to live long. Kansas has not executed a prisoner since reinstating the death penalty in 1994.

Miller is a Vietnam War veteran who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party. He 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.

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