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The strange trial of the avowed anti-Semite and white supremacist charged in the Kansas City JCC killings

F. Glenn Miller Jr. looks through his paperwork Wednesday. (Joe Ledford/The Kansas City Star via AP)

OLATHE, Kan. — It’s a trial like no other.

Interruptions and inappropriate comments have become the norm as avowed anti-Semite and white supremacist F. Glenn Miller Jr., going against conventional wisdom, opted to represent himself in a capital murder trial that began here Monday.

Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 74, of Aurora, Mo., is accused of shooting and killing two people last year near a Jewish Community Center outside Kansas City as well as a third person in the parking lot of Village Shalom, a nearby retirement home.

Authorities said that in April 2014, Miller killed William Corporon, 69, and his grandson, Reat Underwood, 14, outside the JCC in Overland Park, Kan. A short time later, police say, he fatally shot Terri LaManno, 53, in the parking lot of Village Shalom. None of the victims were Jewish.

[‘I know they’re in heaven together’: Kansas City mourns the victims]

Miller is also charged with three counts of attempted murder and a count of aggravated assault. Those victims appeared in court this week – and had to endure cross-examination by the wheelchair-bound Miller.

“I’m glad I didn’t kill you,” Miller told James Coombes, who testified about Miller shooting at him, putting a bullet hole in the leather satchel he wore slung across his body and four in his Honda Element.

Miller also told Maggie Hunker he was glad he hadn’t shot her as well. During her testimony, Hunker described watching LaManno beg for her life when Miller’s gun jammed. She said that after Miller shot LaManno, he asked Hunker if she was Jewish. When she replied no, he drove off.

“I thought you were a brave man,” he told Paul Temme, who had chased after Miller’s car at the Jewish Community Center to try to get the license plate number for police. Then Miller asked him, “Are you a homosexual?”

[Miller was reportedly a longtime Ku Klux Klan leader]

The defendant’s first question for a young female forensics expert: “Has anyone ever told you that you resemble Andy Taylor’s girlfriend [from ‘The Andy Griffith Show’]?”

After lengthy testimony Wednesday from David Wright, a forensic firearms expert, Miller asked, “Do you think I’ll ever get my guns back when I’m exonerated?” When the prosecution objected, Miller had no further questions.

Earlier that day, Miller interrupted a witness to alert the judge that he had to use the restroom, though he used a more colorful term.

The trial has gone more quickly than expected, but that’s because the defense has passed on cross examining many of the state’s witnesses and rarely even looked at pieces of evidence, instead simply dismissing items with a wave of his hand and saying, “No objection.”

When he does ask questions, they have focused on race, religion and ethnic heritage. Several times he’s begun with comments and has repeatedly been admonished by Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan.

“You were quite rough with me,” he told Overland Park Police Officer Hunter Clyde. “Didn’t I call you Rambo?”

The state rested its case Thursday morning after Miller’s cross-examination of Gary Borstelman, a deputy with the Johnson County Sheriff’s office and a witness for the state who presented audio recordings of phone calls from Miller.

Rather than challenge the veracity of the recordings or their admissibility as evidence, Miller apologized about the profanity, saying he hadn’t expected “women and children” to hear it, and then proceeded to reiterate many of the comments from the conversations in which he stated he’d wished the victims had been Jews.

The trial resumes Friday morning with Miller presenting his defense.

Reese is a freelance writer.