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Judge Rules Accused JCC Shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Can Represent Himself

Courtesy photo
Johnson County, Kansas, Sheriff's Office

Update, 11:16 a.m.:

After a weighty silence, a Johnson County District Court judge agreed to let accused Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. defend himself. 

His attorneys - Martin Warhurst, Mark Manna and Jeffrey Dazey - will stay on as "standby counsel" in what may be the first capital case in Kansas where the defendant represents himself. 

"Do you understand, sir, at trial, you're going to be held to the same standard as an attorney?" Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan asked Cross. 

"I'll do my best. I'll try to abide by the court procedures and be a gentleman," replied Cross, a known anti-Semite who frequently talks over the objections of his legal team. 

Ryan asked Cross if he understood attorneys have received training and have expertise he doesn't have. 

"You're going to use my incompetence to force one of those government-paid lawyers to represent me?" said Cross. 

Ryan told Cross it wouldn't change an earlier decision he made denying Cross Internet access. Cross has said repeatedly he needs a computer to contact other, like-minded political associates he wants to call in his defense. 

For his part, Manna said he wasn't aware of another capital case in Kansas where the defendant was allowed to represent himself pro se. 

Manna clarified with the judge that his new role would be strictly advisement as it's now up to Cross to address the court and examine witnesses. 

Cross is expected to take up the matter of jury questionnaires after a recess. A trial is set for August. 

The original post continues below.

Within the first 15 minutes of his latest court appearance, accused Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., again reiterated his desire to fire his lawyers. 

"You going to gag me?" Cross called from his wheelchair after Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan refused to let him speak. 

Cross, a known anti-Semite who is also known as Frazier Glenn Miller, is accused of killing three people at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom on April 13, 2014.

Cross wanted to comment on why his lawyers had asked prosecutors to take the death penalty off the table in exchange for a guilty plea. 

"Let me tell you how this court works," Ryan replied. "You're not just free to talk. You have lawyers representing you."

That's when Cross asked to fire Martin Warhurst and Mark Manna.

Johnson County Prosecutor Stephen Howe reiterated his position to Ryan that case law in the area is "abundantly clear" and Cross must be allowed to represent himself if he so wishes. 

Ryan then described his quandary, which is because the state is seeking the death penalty, "there's a heightened need for experienced and learned counsel to be involved with this case."

Ryan agreed to a recess during which Cross' counsel could discuss the matter with their client.

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