An avowed white supremacist will make his final plea Tuesday to a Kansas jury before they decide whether or not he should be sentenced to death for killing three people outside two Jewish centers in April 2014.
Former Ku Klux Klan member Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., whose given name is Frazier Glenn Cross, was found guilty in August after he told the jury he committed the murders in an act of "patriotism." Conducting his own defense, Mr. Miller is seeking a life sentence for himself; if sentenced to die, Miller would be the first to receive capital punishment in Kansas since the state restored the death penalty in 1994.
The jury convicted Miller in August for the Passover eve killings of three people: high school student Reat Underwood; his grandfather, William Corporon; and a woman, Terri LaManno. Miller was also found guilty of three counts of attempted murder for shooting at three other people, and of assault and weapons charges.
During the prosecution's closing, District Attorney Steve Howe cited a "mountain of evidence" against Miller, who admitted to the shootings but pleaded not guilty, saying it was his duty to stop what he described as the Jews committing genocide against the white race. None of his victims were Jewish.
“I had no criminal intent,” Miller said in court the day of the verdict. “I had a patriotic intent to stop genocide against my people.”
Miller’s case, while extreme, highlights a rise in anti-Jewish sentiment across the United States, The Christian Science Monitor reported last month. Incidents against Jews in the US increased by 21 percent in 2014 compared to the year before, representing a shift in nearly a decade of decline in acts against Jews, according to an Anti-Defamation League audit released in March.
At the same time, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights group in Montgomery, Ala., has said that Miller represents “a new kind of figure in the hate crime movement because he often seeks publicity,” the Monitor’s Mark Guarino reported shortly after the killings. “He created his own website, ran for state and federal office in North Carolina and Missouri, and published a 2002 autobiography.”
Miller maintained his outspoken persona throughout the trial, talking to both the press and the public, making comments to jurors, and complaining that his rights were being violated. He said he hated Jews, who he insisted control the media, financial institutions, and the movie industry, and wanted to kill as many as he could.
His son, Frazier Glenn Miller III, was among the several witnesses whom Miller called to testify last week.
His son told jurors he loved his father and was surprised by his crimes and the motives behind them. "I don't agree with him at all," the younger Miller said.
This report uses material from The Associated Press and Reuters.