OLATHE, Kan. — A jury recommended the death penalty Tuesday for a white supremacist who fatally shot three people at Jewish sites in Kansas last year, just hours after the man told jurors he didn't care what sentence was handed down.
The same jury convicted 74-year-old Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. last week of capital murder for the April 2014 shootings. The judge overseeing the trial will now decide whether to follow the jury's sentencing recommendation.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe had urged the jury to recommend a death sentence earlier Tuesday during closing arguments in the trial's penalty phase. He showed jurors one of the shotguns used in the shootings, saying Miller — who repeatedly admitted to the killings — pointed the gun at one of the victims, 53-year-old Terri LaManno, but the weapon didn't fire.
Howe then grabbed another of Miller's guns to show the jury, saying LaManno "begged for her life" before Miller shot her.
"There's no doubt she was terrified. She froze. ... And his response was to brutally kill her," Howe said. "The defendant's actions are clearly the type of case the death penalty was made for."
Miller also killed 69-year-old William Corporon, and Corporon's 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. He shot LaManno later that day at the nearby Village Shalom retirement center.
In a rambling, hour-long closing argument earlier Tuesday, Miller touched on the media, white supremacism and his health before telling jurors he didn't care what sentence they handed down.
"Frankly my dears, I don't give a damn," he said. Miller later raised his right arm in the Nazi salute, as he did after jurors convicted him.
Miller, who represented himself at the trial, has said he is suffering from chronic emphysema and wanted to kill Jewish people before he died. None of the victims was Jewish.
Miller was removed from the courtroom after the verdict was read. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 10.
Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., is a Vietnam War veteran who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in his native North Carolina and later the White Patriot Party. He also ran for the U.S. House in 2006 and the U.S. Senate in 2010 in Missouri, each time espousing a white-power platform.
Among Miller's witnesses, was his 39-year-old son, Frazier Glenn Miller III, who testified he doesn't know where his father learned about "hating Jews and about hating other races."
If the judge agrees to a death sentence, it's unclear if the punishment would be carried out. A doctor testified during the trial that Miller likely had five to six years to live, and Kansas has not executed a death row inmate in decades.
State Department of Corrections spokesman Adam Pfannenstiel said earlier Tuesday that the state doesn't currently have the drugs on hand to perform a lethal injection. "It's not something we've had to concern ourselves with," he said.