F. Glenn Miller Jr. turned loud, profane and argumentative Wednesday during the final scheduled pretrial hearing before his capital murder trial, which is set to begin Aug. 17.
Johnson County District Judge Kelly Ryan repeatedly warned Miller that such outbursts later, in front of jurors, could result in him being removed from the courtroom or in a mistrial being declared.
The 74-year-old Missouri man, who is accused of killing three Christians outside Jewish centers in Overland Park last year, is representing himself in what will be Johnson County’s first capital trial in more than a decade.
Even before Wednesday’s hearing got underway, Miller, a self-described anti-Semite, was removed temporarily from the courtroom after he reacted angrily to a deputy telling him not to give the Nazi stiff-armed salute to people in the gallery.
Later in the hearing, Ryan told Miller that he would not allow him to say “sieg heil” or give the salute in the presence of jurors.
Miller is charged with capital murder and faces a possible death sentence in the April 13, 2014, shooting deaths. He has admitted in writing and in the courtroom that he carried out the shooting spree in an attempt to kill Jews.
On Wednesday he asked for a change of venue, arguing that the “massive” pretrial publicity about his case has made it impossible for him to get a fair trial in Johnson County.
But Assistant District Attorney Chris McMullin argued that Miller has generated most of the publicity himself by contacting the media and “giving confessional interviews.”
The judge denied the request to move the trial because Miller did not provide evidence or testimony to back the request.
Jury selection is set to begin Aug. 17. Both sides Wednesday hashed out the mechanics of how jury questioning will be conducted. They also discussed the role of the three standby lawyers assigned to assist Miller.
Miller repeatedly interrupted the judge as he tried to explain their role.
“Stop interrupting me as you usually do and listen for once,” Ryan told him.
The judge told Miller that if he is disruptive or if he decides to voluntarily leave the proceedings, the standby attorneys will be asked to step in and continue the trial without him.
The trial will be conducted in two phases.
First, jurors will be asked to determine whether Miller is guilty of capital murder and related charges. District Attorney Steve Howe said Wednesday that the state’s case in the guilt phase would take about a week.
“I’m going to need a lot more than that,” Miller said of his defense.
Among the evidence that prosecutors intend to present are recordings of phone conversations that Miller has had since his arrest and video of statements he made while sitting inside a police car.
If Miller is found guilty of capital murder in the first phase, the jury will hear additional testimony to determine whether he should be sentenced to life in prison or death.
Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., is accused of killing William Corporon and his grandson, Reat Underwood, outside the Jewish Community Center. He then allegedly drove to the nearby Village Shalom care center and shot Terri LaManno to death.
Miller also faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder for allegedly firing shots at other people. He also faces charges for allegedly firing shots into the community center building and pointing a shotgun at another woman.
To see The Kansas City Star’s series on hate crimes, click here.