A Kansas judge on Thursday found that a white supremacist accused in the murder of three people at Jewish facilities is competent to stand trial, after reviewing a psychological report requested by his defense lawyers.
Former Ku Klux Klan member Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., also known as Glenn Miller, is charged in the April shooting deaths in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan said Cross was competent to stand trial, citing a psychological report that found the defendant was able to understand the charges against him and help his attorneys in his defense.
Cross said as he left the hearing that he shot the victims because Jewish people have committed genocide against whites.
“I had a right and a duty to do what I did,” Cross, 74, said as he was taken from the courtroom in a wheelchair with his hands and feet shackled.
Cross told the Kansas City Star in a November interview that he carried out the attacks because he wanted to attack or kill Jews before he died. But Cross has not entered a formal plea in the case. Such pleas come after a preliminary hearing if a defendant is bound over for trial, said Ron Evans, public defender for Cross.
Evans declined to comment specifically on Cross or react to the psychological evaluation.
Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against Cross.
“I don’t fear death,” Cross said during the Thursday hearing. Judge Ryan asked him several times to stay quiet.
Cross is charged in the deaths of Reat Underwood, 14; Underwood’s grandfather, William Corporon, 69; and Terri LaManno, 53.
Prosecutors say Cross shot Underwood and Corporon to death at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City on April 13 and then drove to a nearby Jewish retirement home, where he killed LaManno. None of the victims was Jewish.
Cross, who is being held on a $10 million bond, also is accused of firing on other people at the facilities.
Before the shootings, Cross had posted on the Internet that he had an “obsessive hatred for Jews.”
Underwood and his grandfather were at the community center so the boy could audition for a singing contest. LaManno was at the Jewish retirement home to visit her mother.
A preliminary hearing was set for March 2.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Doina Chiacu)