Life in prison without parole would be an appropriate sentence for F. Glenn Miller Jr. following his capital murder conviction for fatally shooting three persons last year in Overland Park.
A jury is considering arguments in the penalty phase of his trial and will decide whether to put Miller to death.
Given that Kansas has not carried out the death penalty since 1965, and given that Miller, 74, suffers from emphysema, even a life sentence would essentially be a death sentence.
A life sentence might well reduce the opportunities for an appeal and shield the public from more courtroom drama starring Miller and his despicable white-supremacist rants.
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In addition, life imprisonment would deny Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., the satisfaction of touting execution as a kind of martyrdom in his neo-Nazi killing spree.
A Johnson County District Court jury on Monday deliberated less than two hours before reaching the verdict in the six-day trial.
District Judge Kelly Ryan deserves praise for deftly maintaining courtroom decorum and keeping Miller’s outbursts to a minimum.
The jury convicted Miller for fatally shooting William Corporon, 69, and Reat Underwood, 14, on April 13, 2014, outside the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, and Terri LaManno, 53, outside the nearby Village Shalom care center, where she had gone to visit her mother.
Miller had driven from his home in Aurora, Mo., and scouted out the locations intent on killing Jews. But his shooting victims were Christian. Acting as his own attorney, Miller’s defense included expressing the regret that he had not killed more people.
In an opening statement Tuesday, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christopher McMullin called Miller’s killing spree “heinous, cruel and atrocious” and asked jurors to impose the death penalty.
But a long, isolating imprisonment could serve to be a rancid hell of Miller’s own making. And it would give the public and his victims’ families a better chance to get beyond the nightmare he wrought.