Frazier Glenn Cross, Jr., the man who killed three people in two shootings at Jewish sites in Overland Park in 2014, died Monday in a Kansas prison, according to state corrections officials.
In a release Tuesday from the El Dorado Correctional Facility, authorities say a preliminary assessment shows Cross died from natural causes. Results of an official autopsy are pending, the release said.
An investigation into Cross’s death is underway, which is standard protocol whenever a prisoner dies in custody, authorities said.
Cross, who was about 80 years old, claimed during his 2014 trial for the Overland Park killings that he had emphysema. During the trial, he often appeared in court in a wheelchair and oxygen tank.
In March, lawyers representing Cross argued for his death sentence to be reversed, saying the Johnson County District Court erred in allowing him to represent himself during the 2014 trial.
The high court’s seven-member panel had yet to render a decision in the appeal before Cross’s death.
Cross, who was also known by the name Glenn Miller, was convicted in August 2015 of killing three people — two at the Jewish Community Center and one at the nearby Village Shalom retirement home — and with firing at or assaulting four others and firing into the community center itself.
The shootings happened near the center’s theater entrance, as auditions were in progress for the KC SuperStar high school singing contest.
Killed were William Corporon, 69, and his grandson, Reat Underwood, 14, who were at the center so Underwood could try out for KC SuperStar, and Terri LaManno, 53, an occupational therapist whose mother lived at Village Shalom.
Cross, an avowed white supremacist and anti-Semite from Aurora, Mo., admitted to the killings and said during his trial that he intended to kill as many Jews as possible, although none of the three victims were Jewish.
Representing himself during the trial, Cross emphasized his apocalyptic anti-Jewish beliefs that the white race is being endangered by diversity and that he was a patriot and would-be martyr.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe argued against reducing Cross’ death sentence, arguing to the high court panel in March that Cross demonstrated through his actions that he was competent to represent himself. His attack, Howe said, was planned extensively and psychiatry does not recognize racism as a mental health disorder.
On Tuesday, the Corporan family released the following statement:
The murderer took the lives of two Methodists and a Catholic while intending to murder Jews. No one should have lost their lives at his hands.
We are neither happy nor sad. He stole so much from our family, but he didn’t steal our hearts or our dignity. He did not steal our memories, the love that sustains us or the ability to offer forgiveness and kindness in the face of such tragedy.
With shear grit, determination and faith, our family forgave this murderer his sins against us. In no way does this forgiveness mean that his actions were correct. Our forgiveness releases the hate from our own hearts. Hate comes in all shapes and sizes, all colors and creeds. We pray that our healing journey helps others move forward during their own struggles and challenges. Don’t allow hate to occupy your heart or mind. It will rot you from the inside out. This murderer was rotten to his core. At no time did he ask for our forgiveness or offer regret for his actions. He was taught to hate by his own father from the time he was young. Only knowing how to hate another drove him to murder. This is heartbreaking.
We are sad. We miss our family, Bill (aka Popeye) and Reat. But we don’t carry the weight of hate in our hearts.
In the wake of the attack, Mindy Corporan — whose father, William Corporan, and son, Reat Underwood, were killed — started the Faith Always Wins Foundation.
That group hosts an annual event, Seven Days Make a Ripple, Change the World, in honor of the attacks’ victims. This year’s event was held virtually last month due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.