Frazier Glenn Cross Jr..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Missouri white supremacist charged with murdering three people outside two Kansas City-area Jewish centers was warned not to focus on his hatred of Jews to defend himself as opening arguments in the case got underway Monday.
Frazier Glenn Cross, 74, a former senior member of the Ku Klux Klan, is defending himself in the capital murder case and sought Monday to explain to jurors the multiple reasons he has hatred for Jewish people.
"If I can't explain why I did it then I have no chance of being found not guilty," Cross told Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan after Ryan halted Cross' opening statement and ordered jurors to leave the courtroom.
Judge Ryan told Cross his views about Jews are not relevant in the guilt phase of trial, but may be brought in during the penalty phase if Cross, also known as Glenn Miller, is convicted.
Cross could be sentenced to death if convicted of the April 2014 killings of Reat Underwood, 14, and his grandfather William Corporon, 69, outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, as well as Terri LaManno, 53, outside a Jewish retirement home in Overland Park, Kansas.
None of the shooting victims was Jewish.
He is also charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at three other people outside the facilities. He has pleaded not guilty. His trial is expected to last three to four weeks.
In the prosecution's opening statement Monday, Chris McMullin, the chief deputy district attorney for Johnson County, said Cross had confessed to the crime in a telephone call with an acquaintance last October.
"I did it and I'm proud of it. I planned it I plotted it. I schemed it," McMullin said Cross stated in that call.
McMullin also said that after he was arrested, Cross asked "how many" he had shot.
Cross is accused of first opening fire at the Jewish Community Center and then driving to the nearby Jewish retirement home in the hunt for more victims.
Cross said told the judge and attempted to tell jurors in court Monday that Jews are guilty of genocide against white people and have unfair control of both the media and financial institutions.
About 200 people are listed as possible witnesses for the trial and its penalty phase.