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Trial Opens For Accused Jewish Community Center Shooter

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Shane Keyser/
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POOL / Kansas City Star
Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., who has been charged with the shooting deaths of three people at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, edits his remarks during the opening of his trial. Cross' capital murder trial began Monday morning.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher McMullin opened the trial of accused Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. Monday with a quote from the defendant shortly after his arrest.

"'I'm an anti-Semite,'" McMullin repeated, voice booming across the courtroom. "'How many goddamn Jews did I kill?' These are words captured on video as the defendant sat in the backseat of an Overland Park police car minutes after he killed three people."

Cross, who also goes by the surname Miller, faces a single capital murder charge in the April 13, 2014, deaths of William Corporon, Reat Underwood and Terri LaManno. He also faces attempted murder charges for shooting at three others at the Jewish Community Center, as well as aggravated assault for threatening a woman with a gun at nearby Village Shalom.

After McMullin wrapped up the prosecution's opening statement, it was Cross' turn to talk. He didn't get out his first sentence before Johnson County Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan had to ask the jury to leave the courtroom.

Cross had alluded to two prior attempts to reach a plea deal.

He again told the judge he wanted to argue he had a "compelling necessity" to kill Jews, though none of his victims were Jewish.

"I had good moral reasons for what I did," Cross told the judge. "I had good intentions in my heart."

But Cross couldn't tell the jury that, Ryan ruled. He had to stick to what happened the day of the shooting.

As a result, his opening statement was just seven minutes long.

"I want you to vote with your honest, patriotic minds," Cross told the jury after telling them he was just trying to secure a future for white children over the prosecution's objection.

Eight women and nine men are sitting on the jury. Twelve will be selected to serve as jurors. The other five will be available as alternates.

The state planned to bring in a number of law enforcement witnesses Monday, as well as people Cross allegedly shot at. The trial is expected to last three to four weeks.

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