By Tony Rizzo, The Kansas City Star
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Johnson County prosecutors on Tuesday filed two types of murder charges against a 73-year-old avowed racist and anti-Semite in the shootings deaths of three people outside Jewish facilities in Overland Park.
Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., better known as F. Glenn Miller, is charged with one count of capital murder in the killings of 69-year-old Overland Park doctor William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the Jewish Community Center where Reat was auditioning for a talent contest.
A capital murder conviction carries a life sentence without parole unless prosecutors seek the death penalty, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said. Under Kansas law, Howe doesn’t have to make a decision on seeking the death penalty until after a preliminary hearing.
Miller is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Terri LaManno, 53, a Kansas City mother of three who was shot outside Village Shalom senior living facility, where she had gone to visit her mother.
A first-degree murder conviction carries a life sentence with no parole possible for at least 25 years.
Miller, who was arrested about 20 minutes after the first shootings, is being held in lieu of a $10 million bond.
Though the killings happened at Jewish facilities, all three victims were Christians.
Howe announced the charges at a Tuesday morning press conference. He was accompanied by Barry Grissom, U.S. attorney for the District of Kansas. who said he does not anticipate any federal charges to be filed within the next week.
“Before I make any decision, I want all the facts,” said Grissom, who said that he is comfortable at this point with moving forward on federal hate crime charges.
A federal conviction could carry a death penalty, depending on what charges are filed and whether the Department of Justice decides to seek the death penalty — a decision that would be made in Washington, Grissom said.
One criteria that makes a case eligible for a federal death penalty is if a convicted felon uses a weapon in a hate crime, Grissom said.
Miller was convicted of a federal felony on weapons charges in the 1980s.
Since Johnson County filed state charges before the filing of any federal charges, Miller will be tried in state court first, Howe said.
The case remains under investigation, Howe said. There is a good possibility of additional state charges being filed, he said.
Capital murder is the most serious charge a person can face in Kansas, which does not have a hate crime charge.
Under Kansas law, the intentional and premeditated killing of more than one person “as a part of the same act or transaction or in two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or course of conduct” is one of the limited circumstances that capital murder applies.
Though two people were killed outside the Jewish Community Center, only one charge was filed in their deaths because the deaths occurred as part of the same act.
Howe said he would consult with members of the victims’ families before deciding whether to see a death sentence.
“I don’t plan to make a knee-jerk decision on that,” he said. “I want all the facts.”
Howe and Grissom declined to talk about evidence in the case. Neither would discuss a possible motive.
Aided by tips from witnesses, two Overland Park police officers spotted Miller inside the car he had driven away from the shooting scenes. The officers ordered Miller to surrender and he did without incident, said Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass. Several weapons were recovered, including a shotgun and handgun, Douglass said.
Miller, of Aurora in southwest Missouri, is scheduled to make his first appearance in Johnson County District Court Tuesday afternoon.
Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City Star/MCT