© 2021 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Crime and Courts

Judge Won't Recuse Himself From Jewish Site Shootings Case

Johnson County, Kansas, Sheriff's Office

A man who is accused of killing three people because he believed that they were Jewish is arguing with the judge in his case.

OLATHE, Kan. -- A judge rejected a series of defense motions Friday in the death penalty case of a white supremacist charged with killing three people last year at two Jewish sites in Kansas.

Johnson County Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan began by refusing to step down from the case, saying there weren't grounds for the request. Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., 74, of Aurora, Missouri, argued that Ryan was obstructing justice by not ruling quickly on motions or allowing him a computer with online access.

Ryan also refused requests to let the defense speak last in the penalty phase and to keep jurors from seeing photos of the victims before they died.

Ryan said he would discuss later in the hearing Miller's argument that there was a "compelling necessity" for the killings in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park. Miller, who is charged with capital murder in the killings, said he would be "back to square one" if the defense is denied. Jury selection is slated to begin Aug. 17.

The prosecution said the compelling necessity defense shouldn't be allowed, arguing in a motion that there's "no relationship whatsoever between these victims and the worldwide conspiracy" that Miller alleges.

Miller does not deny gunning down Dr. William Lewis Corporon, 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, and Terri LaManno, 53, at the nearby Village Shalom care center on April 13, 2014. He said he felt it was his duty to kill Jewish people before he died; he didn't know all three were Christians.

Miller is representing himself, but the judge has ordered defense attorneys in the case to remain available. The hearing was marked with frequent outbursts and occasional anti-Semitic remarks from Miller, who at one point called himself a Nazi.

"I intend to walk if I get a fair trial," Miller said, adding later, "Why don't you just put all the motions together, say 'denied' and save taxpayers money?"