Jury selection began on Monday in the trial of a Missouri white supremacist charged with murdering three people in a shooting spree outside two Kansas City-area Jewish centers in April 2014.
Frazier Glenn Cross, 74, a former senior member of the Ku Klux Klan who has made derogatory remarks about Jews in preliminary court hearings, is representing himself at his state trial in Olathe, Kansas.
Cross, also known as Glenn Miller, could be sentenced to death if convicted. Unlike his prior court appearances, on Monday, Cross appeared in court unshackled and clad not in prison inmate attire but a dark blue suit and tie as he acted as his own attorney.
Jury selection is expected to continue through the end of this week, while the trial itself could last three to four weeks, court officials said. About 200 people are on the witness list for the trial and its penalty phase.
Cross is charged with killing 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 retirement home in Overland Park, Kansas. He is also charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at three other people outside the facilities. He has pleaded not guilty.
Cross drove up to both facilities in his car on a Sunday afternoon and began shooting, according to evidence presented by the state. The teenager Cross killed was at the Jewish center for a singing competition and was in his grandfather's car outside the center when both were shot. LaManno had been visiting a nearby Jewish retirement home when she was shot. None of the victims were Jewish.
Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan ruled in May that Cross could be his own lawyer after Cross said he did not trust his state-paid public defenders to represent his interests. In preliminary hearings Ryan has admonished Cross for speaking out of turn and being disruptive. Three public defenders remain on stand-by duty if Ryan feels they are needed.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy, writing by Carey Gillam; Editing by Sandra Maler and Alan Crosby)