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Johnson County Shooting Suspect Held On $10 Million Bail

Peggy Lowe

The 73-year old southwest Missouri man suspected in the killings of three people near the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kan., made his first court appearance Tuesday, wearing a bullet-proof vest and looking confused as a Johnson County judge set his bail at $10 million.

Frazier Glenn Cross was charged with two felony counts of murder -- one count of capital murder and one count of premeditated first-degree murder -- for the killings of three people in two locations.

Whether Cross will face the death penalty will be determined at a later date, said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, after discussing it with the victims families.

"This is about making sure justice is done," Howe said. "This isn’t about retribution."

Cross also will face federal charges sometime in the future, including a hate crime charge, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said. 

"Before I make any decision, I want all the facts," Grissom said.

Despite an anti-Semitic tirade, all three victims were Christians. Cross has an extensive history of hate-speech and involvement with supremacist groups, and likely intended to target Jews.

On Tuesday, he appeared in court via video feed from the Olathe jail, sliding into focus on the flat-screen TV as he growled and squirmed. He wore a Kevlar vest with no shirt, his face a patch of whiskers and his hair messed up.

Cross answered the judge's questions with a gravel-voiced "yes." When asked if he wanted a public defender, he replied: "I don't have the money." His next court appearance is April 24.

High school student Reat Underwood, 14, and his grandfather, William Corporon, 69, both Methodists, were outside the Jewish Community Center and planning on going to a singing competition when they were shot and killed a little after 1 p.m. on Sunday.

The third victim was Terri LaManno, 53, of Kansas City, Mo., a Catholic, who was killed at the Village Shalom assisted living facility as she was visiting her mother.

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
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