published Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Suspect in Kansas shootings faces murder charges

By BILL DRAPER

Associated Press

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Kansas prosecutors filed state-level murder charges today against the white supremacist accused in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City.

Frazier Glenn Cross has been charged with one count of capital murder for the deaths of 14-year-old boy and his grandfather outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said at a news conference. Cross also faces one count of first-degree, premeditated murder for the death of a woman who was gunned down while visiting her mother at a nearby retirement complex.

The capital murder charge carries the death penalty as possible punishment, Howe said. Cross is being held on $10 million bond, and is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. today in Johnson County District Court.

Cross, a 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran from southwest Missouri, founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party. His activities have long drawn the attention of hate-group monitors, and federal prosecutors say there's enough evidence to warrant putting the case before a grand jury as a hate crime. Moving the case from state to federal prosecutors would likely mean tougher punishments if Cross is convicted.

He's suspected of killing 69-year-old physician William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the community center of Greater Kansas City. Both were Methodist.

Moments later, Terri LaManno, a 53-year-old Catholic occupational therapist and mother of two, was gunned down outside a Jewish retirement complex where she was visiting her mother.

Cross shouted "Heil Hitler" at television cameras as he was arrested. Sunday's killings shocked the city on the eve of Passover and refocused attention on the nation's problem with race-related violence.

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