OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — An avowed Anti-Semite who shot and killed three people outside of two Jewish sites in Kansas City in 2014, including a community center and a retirement home, has appealed his death sentence on grounds of an apparent lack of “understanding legal intricacies.”
Frazier Glenn Miller Jr, also known as Glenn Miller or Frazier Glenn Cross, is the former leader of the now-defunct White Patriot Party, an anti-Semitic paramilitary cell affiliated with the KKK. Miller was convicted in 2015 for the fatal shooting of three people in an attack meant to target Jewish people, however, the three victims were Christians. Court documents say Miller shot at several others, including Jewish practitioners who escaped, while shouting “Heil Hitler.”
Reid Nelson, an attorney for the 80-year-old condemned man, said before the Kansas Supreme Court that his client’s sentence should be overturned because he was incapable of representing himself at trial, adding that due to the state’s vague death penalty law, Miller’s standby attorneys should’ve been permitted to intervene. Nelson said the state’s clause that allows juries to consider crimes as “especially heinous” is unconstitutionally vague and should be re-examined.
Nelson also argued in an afternoon session that Miller’s standby attorneys should’ve been able to present evidence of his difficult life and mental health issues during the penalty phase of his trial, the Associated Press reported.
“It is absolutely required that these proceedings have a heightened standard of reliability, which this case didn’t have,” Nelson said, suggesting that no defendant in any capital case is capable of self-representation.
However, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, who previously prosecuted Miller, argued that the constitution guarantees Miller’s right to serve as his own lawyer, which he chose, adding that the constitution overrules any possible legal argument.
“I go back to the fact that this is his right to have the trial the way he wants the trial, and the lawyers can’t tell him what to do,” Howe said. “He made that abundantly clear and, as far as I’m concerned, the Sixth Amendment says, whether its a good idea or not, you have a right to be your own lawyer.”
Miller represented himself at trial, frequently interrupting the proceedings with bizarre outbursts and objections, including one regarding the dismissal of witnesses because they didn’t use the word “God” in their oaths. Miller told the court “It’s my life and I’ll do as I please… The death penalty don’t bother me” adding if he was found guilty, he would “climb up on the gurney and stick the needle in myself.” Miller had previously attempted to call famed actor Mel Gibson, who went on an Anti-Semitic rant in 2006, to the witness stand.
Howe said prosecutors and judges “went the extra mile” by allowing Miller to talk about his Anti-Semitic beliefs at trial. He argued that Miller essentially used the trial as a soapbox to promote his views on a larger scale. Howe said Miller methodically planned the killings by compiling a list of Kosher businesses and Jewish centers and was able to participate fully in his trial.
Miller testified that he drove to Kansas City in April of 2014 to “kill Jews” after finding out he was diagnosed with chronic emphysema. The three victims are 69-year-old William Corporon, Corporon’s 14-year-old grandson Reat Griffin Underwood, and 53-year-old Terri LaManno.
Miller, a Vietnam war veteran, is assumed to be the oldest man to be convicted in a capital case in Kansas history after he was charged with one count of capital murder, three counts of attempted murder, and assault and weapons charges. He previously ran on white-power platforms for a number of public offices, including North Carolina Governor and US Senator from Missouri.