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Accused Jewish Community Center Shooter Takes Stand, Insists His Actions Were Justified

Joe Ledford
POOL/Kansas City Star
Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. reads a book during his capital murder trial at the Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe, Kansas. He said he needed a dozen volumes to prepare his defense.

Updated, 4:25 p.m. Friday:

The trial for accused Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. will enter a second week.

Cross took the stand Friday to present his case, which included a long-winded rant about a Jewish plot to end the white race and a detailed retelling of what happened in the Jewish Community Center parking lot on April 13, 2014.

He expressed remorse for killing 14-year-old Reat Underwood – though he said he wouldn’t regret killing a Jewish child the same age – but said the other victims, William Corporon and Terri LaManno, should have known not to consort with Jews.

None of the people Cross admitted to shooting were Jewish.

Though both the state and Cross have rested, they still need to agree on instructions for the jury.

Cross could face the death penalty if convicted.

The original post continues below.

White supremacist Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. continues to insist a Jewish conspiracy to eradicate the white race justified the shooting spree last spring that killed three people.

Johnson County Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan has told Cross repeatedly he can’t argue the deaths of William Corporon, Reat Underwood and Terri LaManno were the lesser of two evils, the bar required for a so-called “compelling necessity” defense.

But Cross, who is representing himself, seems determined to tell the jury what was on his mind April 13, 2014, when he allegedly opened fire in the parking lots of the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom.

When he took the stand Friday morning, he presented a rambling defense that took the jury through his 20-year military career – he bragged about assaulting a black sergeant, then noted he hates Jews more – over the district attorney’s frequent objections.

Cross grew increasingly agitated as Ryan overruled his many motions to submit news articles and videos into the record.

“Since the state must prove I had a criminal intent, and since I deny that I had a criminal intent, then simple fairness, logic and equality under the law demands I be given equal opportunity to make my case,” Cross said.

Finally, Ryan dismissed the jury for their morning break and warned Cross if he could not present relevant evidence, then he could be removed from the courtroom. At that point, standby counsel would need to step in.

The trial will resume at 2 p.m. Friday.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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