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April 16, 2014

Supremacist faces murder charges

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The white supremacist charged in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City made his first court appearance Tuesday.

Wearing a dark, sleeveless anti-suicide smock, Frazier Glenn Cross sat in a wheelchair as he was escorted to a video room for the hearing. He stood under his own power to face the judge, crossing his arms and speaking only when answering routine questions from the judge. He requested a court-appointed lawyer.

Cross is being held on $10 million bond and his next court appearance is scheduled for April 24.

Physician William Lewis Corporon, 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, were shot and killed outside of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Both were Methodist. Moments later, Terri LaManno, a 53-year-old Catholic occupational therapist and mother of two, was gunned down outside Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement complex where she was visiting her mother.

In Kansas, one of the narrow circumstances in which capital murder cases are pursued includes the intentional killing of more than one person in “the same act or transaction or in two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or course of conduct.”

A single charge was applied to the deaths of Corporon and his grandson because the deaths occurred in a short period of time as part of the same act, prosecutors said. LaManno’s death doesn’t meet the standard for capital murder, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said, but he would not provide details or evidence gathered in the case to explain why.

Federal prosecutors say there’s enough evidence to warrant putting the case before a grand jury as a hate crime, but U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Tuesday that federal charges were likely a week or more away. Cross’ state case would have to be resolved before he could be moved to a federal trial.

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