OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Jury selection concluded Friday afternoon in the capital murder trial of a Missouri white supremacist accused of killing three Christians last year at two Jewish sites in suburban Kansas City.
Seventeen Johnson County residents were culled from a pool of 200 in a weeklong jury-selection process. Twelve will serve as jurors and the other five will be alternatives, but they won’t know which role they will play until after closing arguments.
Opening statements are scheduled for Monday in a trial expected to last three to four weeks.
Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., 74, of Aurora, Missouri, is representing himself at trial. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death.
Several times during the week Miller challenged the patriotism of would-be jurors and quizzed them about their views on the government and media.
Though he has pleaded not guilty, the former leader of the now-defunct White Patriot Party has admitted killing the three victims. He claims he was morally obligated to carry out the crimes and didn’t know the victims weren’t Jewish — or that a teenager who died was so young.
He is accused of killing William Corporon, 69, and his 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 on April 13, 2014.
Miller fired his attorneys in May so he could speak on his own behalf. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
With no legal background and a stated disdain for government, Miller was admonished during earlier hearings for loudly interrupting Johnson County District Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan and making disparaging remarks toward members of the court. This week, Miller has remained subdued, even as Ryan upheld prosecutors’ occasional objections about Miller’s line of questioning or reaction to answers given by would-be jurors.
Miller has challenged the patriotism of some would-be jurors and asked others if they simply had better things to do than sit through a trial that could span up to a month. He also quizzed them on whether they support a single world government; whether the U.S. was fighting wars in the Middle East to protect its own interests or Israel’s; and whether the mainstream media is “controlled.”
Miller, who uses a wheelchair to get around, suffers from chronic emphysema and has oxygen tanks nearby during court proceedings. He told police soon after his arrest that he wanted to kill Jews before he dies because they were squeezing out the white race.
Ryan ruled last month that Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., will not be allowed to use a “compelling necessity” defense to justify the killings.
His former attorneys remain as stand-by counsel in case Miller is removed from the courtroom. Concerned about how he might behave during the trial, prosecutors this week filed a memorandum of law addressing the court’s right to remove a disruptive defendant and deny Miller the right to defend himself.
When Miller fired his attorneys, Ryan cautioned him about the amount of work necessary to defend a capital murder case.
On Monday, Miller acknowledged that he had not read thousands of pages of discovery he had received from prosecutors, nor did he know how to write and submit proposed jury instructions. Stand-by attorney Mark Manna told the judge he had given Miller guidelines on how to do them and was hesitant to do more in his current capacity.
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