Cleveland County investigators want to interview suspect in shootings near Kansas City
04/23/2014 7:12 PM
04/24/2014 7:29 AM
Cleveland County authorities want to question a white supremacist charged with killing three people near Kansas City earlier this month about any role he may have played in a triple homicide at a Shelby adult bookstore in 1987.
Sheriff Alan Norman said cold case officers will go to Kansas soon to interview Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., 73, who also goes by the name Glenn Frazier Miller. The Aurora, Mo., resident has been charged with the “hate crime” shootings that killed three people outside two Jewish centers in Overland Park, Kan., on April 13.
Founder of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, Miller was a witness for the prosecution in the 1989 trial of a man charged in the shooting deaths of three people at a Shelby adult bookstore two years earlier. Testimony linked Miller to the homicides, although he was never charged.
The defendant in the 1989 trial, former white-power activist Douglas Sheets, was acquitted of charges he helped kill the three men at the bookstore, which was a known gathering place for gay and bisexual men. A 16-count indictment against a second man charged in the 1987 slayings was dismissed.
Norman said the Sheriff’s Office cold case unit will focus on getting any new information about the adult bookstore case and that “we’ll definitely follow up as far as possible.”
“In this case or other cases left open, there’s always hope some development may be out there to take you down another avenue,” Norman said. “Now another avenue has opened in this case for us to explore.”
The Kansas shootings reminded Shelby lawyer Les Farfour of Miller’s testimony in the 1989 trial.
As lead counsel representing Sheets, Farfour had argued there was no physical evidence linking his client to the bookstore slayings and that he was in Kansas during a snowstorm at the time the shootings took place.
Security was tight the day Miller appeared. Farfour said four or five FBI agents ushered him into the Shelby courtroom while State Bureau of Investigation agents armed with rifles were atop the building.
On the witness stand, Miller testified that he’d heard Sheets and another man brag about taking part in the shootings.
“I don’t remember his testimony carried a whole lot of weight,” Farfour said. “He wasn’t a strong witness.”
Cross’ legal downfall had already started when he testified in the Shelby case. In 1984, he was forced to sign a consent order to stop harassing African-Americans and quit running a paramilitary operation when the Southern Poverty Law Center sued his group.
Cross was convicted in 1986 in U.S. District Court in Raleigh of violating the consent order. Prosecutors said his group had been stockpiling weapons and was a threat to the government. He was sentenced to six months in prison and three years of probation but appealed the conviction.
While out on bond, he went underground and fled to Springfield, Mo.
The die-hard racist quickly turned informant on other supremacists, and federal prosecutors recommended him for the federal witness protection program and offered him a reduced sentence.
When he got out of prison in 1990, Cross became a truck driver and moved to Iowa, then back to Missouri.
When Farfour learned Miller was a suspect in the Kansas shootings “it did not surprise me,” he said. “He’d always preached hate and violence. But he was the leader who was always sending someone else out to do what needed to be done. I was surprised he finally took it upon himself to do something so drastic.”
Dianna Melton’s 19-year-old brother, Travis Melton, had worked for a decorating firm before getting laid off and finding a job at the adult bookstore. He’d been there only a month before being shot to death by attackers.
Melton sat in the courtroom with her parents the day Miller testified.
“I remember he looked like he was cold and had no soul,” said Melton, 48, of Forest City. “I still believe he was the instigator – that somehow he was involved and knew everything about the shootings.”
She feels sorry for the families of the Kansas City victims and hopes cold case detectives can turn up new leads.
“Maybe Miller will come clean and tell,” Melton said. “After nearly 30 years who would have thought this is coming up again.” The (Raleigh) News & Observer contributed.
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