Citing a “complete breakdown” in communication, the head lawyer for F. Glenn Miller Jr. withdrew Friday from the capital murder case involving three killings outside Jewish facilities.
For now, Miller’s preliminary hearing remains scheduled for March 2, but it could be delayed if another attorney is not appointed soon to represent the 74-year-old southern Missouri man accused of the Overland Park shootings last April.
Friday’s hearing in Johnson County District Court was scheduled to take up several defense motions, but Ron Evans, who heads the Kansas Death Penalty Defense Unit, asked to meet with District Judge Kelly Ryan and Miller in private to discuss attorney-client issues.
When they returned to the courtroom, Evans asked to withdraw and Ryan granted the request, saying the breakdown in communication prevented Evans from effectively representing Miller.
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Martin Warhurst, a lawyer previously appointed to assist Evans, remains on the case. Warhurst said he will ask officials with the Kansas indigent defense office to appoint another lawyer as soon as possible.
A second lawyer is required because Warhurst is based in Missouri and because this is a potential death penalty case.
Warhurst said he is prepared to go forward with the preliminary hearing as scheduled if a second lawyer can be found quickly. A hearing to ascertain how that effort is going was scheduled for Thursday.
Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., is charged with killing 69-year-old William Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. He then allegedly drove to the nearby Village Shalom care center and killed Terri LaManno, 53.
He has publicly espoused an anti-Jewish bias as the motive for the killings, although none of the victims was Jewish.
Like he has in previous court hearings, Miller shouted several anti-Jewish sentiments Friday.
Before Evans withdrew Friday, one defense motion was granted to return the car seized by police on the day of the shootings to Miller’s family.
Consideration of a second motion seeking Internet access for Miller while he is held in the Johnson County jail was postponed until March 2.