Ku Klux Klan Former Leader Charged in Kansas Murders

Ku Klux Klan Former Leader Charged in Kansas Murders

The suspect in three murders on the eve of Passover is in custody today after shouting “Heil Hitler” as he was being arrested. The 73-year-old gunman, who is  from Aurora, Missouri, will be charged with the Kansas killings, Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., is a white supremacist and a former Grand Dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan with a long history of anti-Semitism.

According to authorities, their search ended when federal agents tracked Cross and three other men to an Ozark mobile home which was filled with automatic weapons, grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition. In 1987, Cross skipped out on the process of appeals for his North Carolina conviction of operating a paramilitary camp, at which point he became the subject of a nationwide manhunt. With a record of racism and several run-ins with the law, he was also sued back in the 1980’s for intimidating African-Americans.

After quitting high school to join the Army for a 20 year career, he served two tours in Vietnam and was a Green Beret for 13 years before he was forced to retire in 1979 for his Ku Klux Klan affiliation. He went on to join a neo-Nazi organization called “The Order” that advocated violence against minorities. He later began his own white supremacist group called “The White Patriot Party.” In two separate occasions he ran for political office, once for the office of North Carolina governor in 1984 as a Democrat, and once as a Republican for a state Senate seat in 1987. In 1999 he wrote an autobiography called  A White Man Speaks Out, which was about his involvement in the underground racist enclaves.

Cross is likely to be booked on not just murder charges but also hate crimes for his alleged killings of Reat Griffin Underwood, a 14-year-old Eagle Scout, and his grandfather, 69-year-old Dr. William Lewis Corporon, who were Methodists on their way to an American Idol-type talent competition at a Kansas City Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. At around 1 p.m., Cross ambushed them in the parking lot and also fired at two other individuals, but missed.

He then proceeded to drive several blocks to a retirement community called Village Shalom, where he gunned down a 53-year-old woman, Terri LaManno, who was visiting her elderly mother at the assisted living facility. The occupational therapist and mother of three was reported to have been a member of a Catholic church.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback promised to seek justice for the senseless killings and attempt to bring peace back to the small suburb, saying that his heart and prayers were with those affected by the brutal slayings, noting the absurdity that none of the victims were even Jewish.

FBI agent Michael Kaste went on to say that these Kansas murders strike at the core of fundamental freedom within the United States, and that the former Ku Klux Klan leader was also attacking the foundation of American ethics. United States Attorney for the District of Kansas Barry Grissom, and Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe are collaborating on charges in local and federal courts, and even though they believe that Cross acted alone, they are still investigating.

A leading anti-hate group called the Southern Poverty Law Center as well as the IREHR, or the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, both tracked Cross for years, reporting that he also went by the name Frazier Glenn Miller. Though the FBI had no warnings of the attacks and were not monitoring him, the IREHR said that he was not just an anti-Semite but that he idolized Adolf Hitler.

As this former leader of the Ku Klux Klan will likely appear in court on Tuesday morning, it is expected that the hate crime charges will stick because they are not tied to the identities of victims, but rather the beliefs and biases of the motivation for the suspect to commit the crimes.

By Elijah Stephens
Follow Elijah on Twitter @liquidheavnlive

Sources:
NBC News

Reuters

New York Daily News

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