Missouri man charged as ‘straw buyer’ in Jewish center shootings case

06/05/2014 10:16 PM

06/06/2014 1:34 PM

A southern Missouri man has been accused of illegally buying one of the weapons allegedly used in the shootings that left three people dead outside Jewish facilities in Overland Park, sources said.

Multiple sources confirmed to The Star that the federal charge filed against John Mark Reidle is related to the April 13 shootings outside the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom senior living facility that Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. allegedly carried out.

Reidle, 47, lives a few miles from Miller in Lawrence County, Mo., and according to court documents, he bought a Remington Model 870 shotgun at a Walmart store in Republic, Mo., four days before the shootings.

He is also among potential witnesses listed on court documents filed in Miller’s murder case in Johnson County District Court. The Star confirmed the federal charge against Reidle while checking the names of non-law enforcement witnesses in Miller’s case in court records.

According to the search warrant return from the search of Miller’s home after the shooting, an owner’s manual for a Remington Model 870 shotgun was among the items seized by federal agents.

Witnesses and law enforcement officers have previously said that a shotgun was one of the weapons used in the shootings.

A federal grand jury in Springfield indicted Reidle on May 7 for allegedly providing false information on a federal firearms form.

According to the indictment, Reidle made a “false and fictitious” statement on the form required by federal law when making a purchase from a licensed firearms dealer. Reidle claimed to be the actual buyer of the shotgun “when in fact as the defendant then knew, he was not the actual buyer of the firearm,” according to the indictment.

Because Miller had a prior felony conviction, he could not legally purchase or possess a firearm.

Reidle was arraigned on the felony charge May 9 and was released on bond, according to court records.

He requested a court-appointed lawyer to represent him on the gun charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

According to court records, Springfield attorney Celeste Johns is now representing him.

Reached by phone Thursday, Johns declined to comment or even confirm that she represented Reidle.

“I would not have a comment on that matter at all,” she said.

Reidle’s only previous criminal charge appeared to be a 1994 conviction for driving while intoxicated.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City said Thursday he could not confirm if the two cases were connected.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe also declined to confirm a connection.

Miller’s attorney, Ron Evans of the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit, also said Thursday he could not comment on the case.

But multiple sources familiar with the case confirmed that Reidle’s charge was connected to the Miller case.

The residence listed as Reidle’s address is an old, worn mobile home with cardboard covering some windows, located near Aurora, Mo., about 180 miles south of Kansas City. It sits in a lot filled with junk and several old cars, surrounded by trees.

A man who answered the door Thursday night said he could not talk.

“I was told not to,” he said.

Neighbors said it was common knowledge in the community that Reidle had political interests along the same lines as Glenn Miller, whom they said Reidle knew.

One neighbor who asked that his name not be used said that one day a year — April 20, Hitler’s birthday — Reidle flew a Nazi flag.

Reidle has made his living in the junk business, neighbors said, driving along the roads with his white truck filled with scrap metal. He would melt down copper in his back yard.

Reidle often had rowdy bon fires at his place with friends, neighbors said.

People who had known Reidle since he was a child described him as “slow” and a slow talker. He was held back in school and did not graduate. One neighbor called him an “odd duck.”

Reidle didn’t have many friends, one person said, and may have fallen under Miller’s sway simply because Miller was one of the few people who talked to him.

Miller, 73, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., is charged in Johnson County District Court with capital murder and first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Terri LaManno, William Lewis Corporon and Reat Griffin Underwood.

Reat, 14, and Corporon, his 69-year-old grandfather, were shot to death outside the Jewish Community Center, where Reat was auditioning for a talent contest. LaManno, 53, a mother of three, was killed outside the Village Shalom senior living facility, where she had gone to visit her mother.

Miller also is charged with the attempted murder of three other people who were allegedly shot at, but not hit.

Miller is being held in the Johnson County Jail on a bond of $10 million. A three-day preliminary hearing is scheduled for November. The hearing will be the first public airing of evidence in the case.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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