Cross convicted, experts debate sentencing - KCTV5

Cross convicted, experts debate sentencing

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Frazier Glenn Cross. What should happen after his conviction? Frazier Glenn Cross. What should happen after his conviction?

All that now remains in murder trial of Frazier Glenn Cross is the sentencing phase. On Monday, a jury found him guilty on all counts for killing three people and shooting at others at two Jewish sites in Johnson County.

The deliberation was short for a capital murder trial, less than two hours, as was the trial itself, the jury reaching a verdict in just 11 days.

Cross, who also goes by the name Glenn Miller, chose to represent himself, what’s known in legal circles as a “pro-se” defendant, and he took many opportunities to spew his anti-Semitic rhetoric in the name of objecting to jury instructions.

With each instruction, Cross objected and stated a reason having to do with his motive. Each objection was overruled.

“That old Jew, that old Kike, deserved to die,” he said at one point. “My actions were based on the fact that the Jews have committed genocide on my people,” he said in his next objection. “I was trying to secure the existence of my people, the future of the while children,” he said another time.

“You might think that it shouldn’t be illegal or immoral to kill somebody but the reality is what you believe doesn’t really matter because we live in a society of laws,” said Paul Morrison, former Johnson County District Attorney turned defense lawyer.

Morrison explained why the judge made it clear to Cross that his opinions were not relevant to his guilt or innocence.

“Self-defense is a real defense,” said Morrison. “You have to be reacting to a clear and imminent threat to you as opposed to, ‘I think these people are killing our society’ or ‘they’re affecting our gene pool’ or whatever the case may be, and so ‘because I’m looking down the road I have a right to exterminate them.’ Well, that’s ridiculous and the court’s probably not going to give him a lot of leeway to go into that stuff.”

The judge tried to reign in Cross, reprimanding him multiple times and ejecting him twice Monday alone. However, he treads a fine line between stopping irrelevant statements and allowing Cross to present arguments that may be relevant up until the point that they cease to be.

Officials with the Anti-Defamation League, a long-standing national Jewish advocacy group, say they have been concerned ever since Cross’s arrest in 2014 that he would eventually have access to a microphone and a platform for his hate speech. How that has played out in his trial leaves them with mixed feelings.

“I think there is great difficulty for us in trying to balance the fact that exposure to a lot of people educates folks about who haters like Frazier Miller really are and what capacity they have to commit such heinous violence…and balancing that with a ‘Gee we wish no one would ever cover them because they don’t deserve the publicity,’” said the ADL’s regional director, Karen Aroesty. Aroesty handles affairs in Missouri, eastern Kansas and southern Illinois.

After the jury left the courtroom to deliberate, the judge went through a list of times Cross had violated court rules from the first day of the proceedings, during jury selection.

“Today you continue to escalate,” said judge Thomas Kelly Ryan. “I held off about as far as I could after mentioning that you thought George Washington would shoot me if he was here today or that there would be a lynch mob for all the court staff…. You said you have no respect for the court or anyone else here, in fact ‘I hate every damn one of you because you are whores to the Jews.’ That's the point when I had you have removed from the courtroom…. Any further statements - however you want to phrase it - outbursts, rants, disrespect - you will be removed from the courtroom and quite frankly I will not hesitate to pull you out of the courtroom in front of the jury.”

When the judge read the jury’s verdict, Cross responded “Sieg  Heil,” and gave a Nazi salute.

The sentencing phase of the trial begins Tuesday. That is where the prosecution and defense present aggravating and mitigating circumstances in arguing for a certain sentence. Morrison says the judge may give Cross more leeway with his proselytizing at that stage. He says there is a good chance that what Cross presents as mitigating factors will be viewed as the opposite by jurors.

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