“The best way to tell this story is to start from the beginning.”
That was the way Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. addressed a federal judge in Raleigh, N.C., just weeks before being sentenced for possessing hand grenades and mailing a threatening communication.
Miller, 47 at the time, was facing 15 years in prison and half a million dollars in fines.
The avowed racist, who had mailed a “Declaration of War” to authorities and white activists across the country, laid out his story for the judge in a six-page letter seeking leniency.
In the December 1987 letter obtained by The Kansas City Star, Miller wrote:
“Surprisingly, in view of my 20 years in the U.S. Army, my 2 years in Vietnam, and my service in the Green Berets, I know hardly anything about firearms and nothing about explosives. I wouldn’t know a LAW rocket if I was hit in the head with one.
“My ignorance about firearms has always been a source of embarrassment to me, but I managed to hide it fairly well.”
Miller’s letter, along with a 15-page memorandum from the U.S. Justice Department that recommended a lighter sentence for the white supremacist, provides a look into the mindset of the man charged with shooting three people to death last Sunday outside two Jewish centers in Overland Park.
Miller told the judge that his war declaration was ill-conceived and wrong.
“Frankly, I’m now ashamed of the whole thing,” he wrote. “All I want to do now is watch my children grow up, give them the best upbringing I can and to try and enjoy what life I have left, with my family.”
His sons, he added, “need the guidance and discipline of a father.”
He conceded that “I do still have racial views I’ll probably take with me to my grave.”
“I’m a White Supremacist, and I’m against immigration, abortion, race-mixing, and everything else I perceive as being detrimental to my Race and to the future of my children.”
The federal case against Miller began when he and two comrades were arrested in a trailer in Ozark, Mo., after mailing the “Declaration of War.” The document, among other things, established a point system for the assassination of federal officials, blacks, Jews, gays and others.
In the trailer, authorities found a large cache of weapons and explosives.
Miller cut a deal with prosecutors, agreeing to cooperate fully with a federal investigation into the existence of a seditious conspiracy of white supremacists plotting to overthrow the government. In return, prosecutors would recommend that the court sentence Miller to five years in prison.
In its sentencing memorandum, the government said that Miller’s offenses “were extremely serious and could have resulted in the loss of innocent life and the destruction of property.”
The government said that Miller’s sedition trial testimony followed cooperation in several other investigations and provided evidence that helped with prosecutions in three federal jurisdictions.
Because of that, the government recommended the reduced sentence and, in accordance with the plea agreement, dropped more than a dozen other charges against Miller.
“Had the government filed these charges, the defendant would have been exposed to more than 100 years of incarceration,” the sentencing memorandum said.
In his letter, Miller asked the judge to forgo a prison sentence.
“Let me say that I am sorry for the trouble I have caused,” he wrote. “I know you’re tired of seeing my face in your courtroom.
“I give you my word, I’ll give you no more trouble.”
In January 1988, the judge sentenced Miller to five years in prison.
In less than three years, he was a free man.