OLATHE, Kan. — Opening statements began Monday in the death penalty trial of Frazier Cross, Jr., the man who has admitted killing three people in April 2014 outside two Jewish centers in Johnson County.
The victims are Reat Underwood, 14, Reat’s grandfather Dr. William Corporon, 69. Both were killed outside the Jewish Community Center as Underwood was there to audition for the KC Superstar contest. Terri LaManno, 43, was gunned down outside Village Shalom, a retirement complex, where she was visiting her mother.
“The defendant, out of his car, pointing a gun at Terry LaManno, and Terry was begging for her life, ‘No, No, No!’,” said Johnson County Assistant Prosecutor Chris McMullin, who then quoted Cross. “I did it and I am proud of it. I planned it, I plotted it, I schemed it.”
Prosecutors objected to the first sentence of Frazier Cross’ opening statement, causing the judge to dismiss the jury and warn Cross that if he does not choose his words carefully, he could cause a mistrial during his opening statement.
Cross, an admitted white supremacist who says he has a particular hatred for Jewish people, is defending himself. He has three attorneys sitting at the defense table to answer any legal questions he might have.
Prosecutors immediately objected to the first statement in his opening argument. He wanted to tell jurors why he shot the three victims, but the judge ruled in favor of the prosecution that the ‘why’ is for the sentencing phase. They argued that Cross must stick to the facts of ‘what’ did or did not happen on April 13, 2014 during the guilt-phase.
“If I cannot explain why I did it, then I have no chance of beating it,” Cross said.
“The genocide against the white race is not admissible at this phase of the trial. How much clearer can I make that to you,” the judge said.
There were more objections from the prosecution, when Cross said:
“I will prove genocide is being committed against white people in the United States (Objection) and worldwide. (Objection from the prosecution.) “I will prove that the American media is controlled by the Jews… (Objection).”
He also told jurors that he tried twice to make a deal with the prosecutor, to which the prosecution also objected.
There were seven total objections from the prosecution before Cross wrapped up his opening statement.
After 50 minutes of opening statements, witnesses to the deadly shootings took the stand.
Frazier Cross, acting as his own attorney asking his surviving victims personal questions on the stand. Going as far as to comment on their actions. Paul Temme says Cross shot at him, and then Temme chased after Cross’ car, to try and get a license plate.
“So it may have been foolish of you?” asked Cross.
“Yes indeed,” said Temme.
“I thought you were a brave man. I couldn’t believe you were back there, chasing me,” said Cross.
“I don’t have any comment to that,” said Temme.
Jay Coombes, who FOX 4 talked to before the trial started, says he laid back in his car to shield himself from the barrage of a half dozen bullets shot at close range, then ran into the Jewish Community Center where he was briefly on the other end of a police officer’s gun.
“Were you more afraid of me at the time the shots were fired at you or more afraid of the police officer when he was pointing a gun at you?” asked Cross.
“I was more afraid of you,” said Coombes.
“You didn’t show any fear that I recall. I’m glad I didn’t shoot you by the way,” said Cross.
“Judge I am going to object,” said Coombes.
“Mr. Cross, Keep your comments to yourself and ask questions of the witness,” said the judge.
The jury was chosen last week, consisting of eight women and nine men chosen from a pool of 200. Twelve of the 17 Johnson County, Kansas, residents will serve as jurors and the other five will be alternates.
Cross says it was his duty to kill Jewish people because they’re endangering the existence of the white race.
During day two of the trial witness from the Terri LaManno shooting scene are expected to testify.
Two foundations have been named after Reat Underwood. Click here to learn more. A scholarship has also been created in memory of Terri LaManno. The scholarship will be awarded to two individuals on Wed. August 26 and will help provide occupational therapy for CCVI students.