White supremacist facing murder charges in Kansas court
OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -
A white supremacist is facing a capital murder charge and a premeditated first-degree murder charge in the death of three people at two Jewish center shootings.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said he will consider seeking the death penalty, but a decision won't be made for some time. He will also consult with the families of those killed before announcing his decision.
"I don't plan on having a knee-jerk reaction," he said. "I'd rather take my time and make an informed decision."
Under Kansas law, someone can face the death penalty if they are convicted of killing two or more people in a single act.
Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., who also goes by Glenn Miller, 73, made his first court appearance at 1:30 p.m. He was in a wheelchair. A judge set bond at $10 million.
The state public defender's office will defend Cross after he said he did not have the financial means to hire an attorney.
Federal prosecutors anticipate filing charges, almost certainly hate crime charges, in the coming weeks. The state murder charges will be handled first and Howe said more charges are possible.
He said he and U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom are working together on the prosecution of Cross.
"This is about justice being done. This isn't about the death penalty at all. This is about seeking justice," Howe said during a news conference.
Cross, who lives in Aurora, MO, is accused of going to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City at 1 p.m. on Sunday and gunning down 14-year-old Reat Underwood and his 69-year-old grandfather, William Lewis Corporon. Reat Underwood was auditioning for a singing competition and his grandfather was taking him to the event.
After spraying bullets at the center, Cross is accused of driving to the nearby Village Shalom where he allegedly shot and killed Terri LaManno, who every Sunday visited her mother at the assisted living center.
LaManno's 25th wedding anniversary would have been on Tuesday.
Because the deaths of Reat and his grandfather were part of a single act, Howe said he filed a capital murder charge in that case. Even though two deaths occurred, they comprise a single act under Kansas law. If convicted of capital murder, Cross would face either life in prison with no chance for parole or the death penalty.
In the death of LaManno, Howe filed a charge of premeditated first-degree murder against Cross. He said this is because it was a separate act that occurred some minutes later at a different location.
If convicted, Cross would have to serve at least 25 years before he could seek parole.
Cross has a felony conviction. Authorities say he used a shotgun and possibly an assault rifle and handgun in Sunday's shootings.
It wasn't clear Tuesday how he came to possess firearms.
Cross is not cooperating with investigators, authorities have said. He is on suicide watch.
He is scheduled to be back in court at 9:30 a.m. on April 24.
KCTV5's Heather Staggers and Jeanene Kiesling contributed to this report.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
White supremacist facing murder charges in Kansas courtMore>>