A judge followed a jury's recommendation and sentenced an avowed anti-Semite to death Tuesday for the fatal shootings of three people at Kansas Jewish sites.
Johnson County District Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan imposed the sentence for Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., who was convicted of one count of capital murder, three counts of attempted murder, and assault and weapons charges for the April 2014 shootings in suburban Kansas City. The same jury that convicted him in August recommended that Miller be sentenced to death.
"Your attempt to bring hate to this community, to bring terror to this community, has failed," Ryan said sternly before sentencing Miller to die by lethal injection. "You have failed, Mr. Miller."
Upon Ryan's announcement, Miller yelled "Heil Hitler" and was removed from the courtroom.
Miller said he shot his victims because he wanted to kill Jewish people before he dies. He suffers from chronic emphysema and has said he doesn't have long to live. A doctor testified during the trial that Miller is ill and likely has five to six years left. All three of his victims were Christians.
He killed William Corporon, 69, and Corporon's 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. He then shot 53-year-old Terri LaManno at the nearby Village Shalom retirement center.
Thirteen people addressed the court Tuesday afternoon either in person or through written statements, including family members of the victims.
One of them was 13-year-old Lukas Losen, Reat's brother and Corporon's grandson, who said he spent his 13th birthday at a psychiatric center. Few eyes in the crowded courtroom stayed dry as he described watching his grandmother "try to exist with a broken heart."
"On that afternoon, I lost my childhood in a split second," Lukas said, his voice quivering as he brushed tears away.
Corporon's wife, Melinda Corporon, described the love her husband had for his family and his work as an emergency room physician. She said he cared for people no matter their religion, financial status or political beliefs.
"It's hard without my best friend of 51 years," she said. "The evil that entered our lives that Sunday in April can't be denied. I'm here today to make sure this voice of evil is silenced permanently."
Several witnesses, including Corporon's son Will and LaManno's husband, William LaManno, looked directly at Miller and called him a coward for ambushing Corporon and Reat and killing LaManno even as she begged for her life.
Alissa LaManno, Terri's daughter, said every happy milestone she will have in her life will be a mixture of happiness and pain because her mother won't be there to experience them with her.
"I wish I had one more hour with her," Alissa said, her voice trembling. "Just one more hour."
Miller glanced at most of the speakers intermittently but didn't keep eye contact, instead sitting silently with his hands clasped in front of him and his head bowed.
After the victim statements, though, he became defiant and spent nearly an hour talking about how Jewish people were running the government, media and Federal Reserve. Family members and supporters of the victims walked out of the courtroom as he spoke.
He said his conscience forced him to do what he did, and he would attack more people if he ever got out of prison.
"I thrive on hate," he said. "If I didn't thrive on hate I would go crazy."
Also known as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., Miller is a Vietnam War veteran who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party. He also ran as a fringe candidate for the U.S. House in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2010 in Missouri, each time espousing a white-power platform.
Miller, from Aurora, Missouri, represented himself at the trial and frequently disrupted procedures with outbursts at the judge, prosecutor and the jury. He said during his closing argument in August that he didn't care whether he was sentenced to death.
Kansas has nine other inmates on death row. Although the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, Kansas waited nearly 20 years before reinstating it. And the state's current law is extremely narrow and allows for death sentences in only a handful of circumstances.
Five of the state's current death row inmates had their sentences overturned by the Kansas Supreme Court, but the cases have since been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court or sent to lower courts for resentencing. The other three inmates have not had first rulings from the Kansas Supreme Court.
On Friday, the court upheld a death sentence for the first time, in the case of a convicted serial killer who investigators said lured some victims with promises of work or sex and stuffed some of their bodies in barrels on his rural property.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now