Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Accused killer has long history of hate

Founded KKK group in N. Carolina

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In this Sunday, April 13, 2014 image from video provided by KCTV-5, Frazier Glenn Cross, also known as Frazier Glenn Miller, is escorted by police in an elementary school parking lot in Overland Park, Kan. Cross, 73, accused of killing three people in attacks at a Jewish community center and Jewish retirement complex near Kansas City, is a known white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader who was once the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

AP PHOTO / KCTV-5 Enlarge Image

In this Sunday, April 13, 2014 image from video provided by KCTV-5, Frazier Glenn Cross, also known as Frazier Glenn Miller, is escorted by police in an elementary school parking lot in Overland Park, Kan. Cross, 73, accused of killing three people in attacks at a Jewish community center and Jewish retirement complex near Kansas City, is a known white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader who was once the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The man suspected of hate crimes in three killings at Jewish institutions near Kansas City on Sunday sprang from what once was among North Carolina's most fertile soil for racist activism, Johnston County, before leaving the state after a lawsuit, a series of arrests and a short prison stint in the late 1980s.

While he was living with his family on a Johnston County farm, few people anywhere in the nation were more active in promoting racial hatred and anti-Semitism than Frazier Glenn Cross, who is widely known as F. Glenn Miller Jr.

A nephew who lives in Johnston County said Monday that Cross's most recent visit to North Carolina was perhaps a decade ago, for a relative's funeral, though he still kept up with family members by phone.

David Barker of Four Oaks, whose mother, Jacqueline Cross Cavanaugh, is Cross's sister, said he last spoke with his uncle two weeks ago. Cross had called to check on his sister, who had broken her leg and was in a nursing home.

"I talk to him quite often, and I just don't know where this came from," Barker said. "His wife told the media he had been at a casino and had won some money. I don't know if he lost his money, or someone said something to him, or he had got drunk."

'I talk to him quite often, and I just don't know where this came from'

Cross, a former U.S. army Special Forces sergeant, was forced out of the military in 1979 for activities related to racism, a dossier on him compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center states. He leaped to national prominence among hate groups in 1980 when he founded an organization called the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He later changed the name of the group to the Confederate Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and then to the White Patriot Party as it turned into more of a paramilitary group.

For a time it was regarded by some Klan-watch organizations as the most active white supremacy group in the United States, though they said it likely had 150 to 300 members rather than the 1,500 Cross claimed.

In addition to his role as a white supremacist leader, Cross was known for perpetually running for office, at least in part so he could use the public platform to preach his message of hate. In North Carolina his campaigns, with white supremacy platforms, included bids for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1984 and the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1986.

Cross was present at one of the most notorious incidents in modern North Carolina history, the 1979 "Death to the Klan" rally in Greensboro in which five members of the Communist Workers Party died in a shootout with Klan supporters. He wasn't charged in relation to that case, and the Klansmen and Nazis who were charged won acquittal.

Cross's legal downfall began in 1984, when the Southern Poverty Law Center sued his group. Cross was forced to sign a consent order to stop harassing African-Americans and quit running a paramilitary operation.

In response to the lawsuit, he said the group would switch its focus from "black racist crime" to exposing Jewish communists. He continued to operate, though, and staged high-profile rallies in Raleigh and in Shelby and Forest City, west of Charlotte.

In one Raleigh event in 1985, he led about 300 uniformed Klansmen, carrying Confederate battle flags, on a march to the state capitol. In another, he drew a crowd of about 300 to the legislature for a protest against school integration.

"Our goal is an all-white independent southern republic just like our forefathers had," he told the Charlotte Observer in 1986.

Cross was convicted that year 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 got permission from federal authorities to move to Virginia with his family, but then went underground and fled to Springfield, Mo. He then sent a declaration of "total war" against the government, African-Americans and Jews, written in 1987, to his mailing list of 5,000 white supremacists that offered a point system to his followers: one point for killing an African-American, 10 for killing a Jew, 20 for an abortion provider and more for a "race traitor."

Within days, federal agents captured him and three other men in a mobile home filled with guns, hand grenades, ski masks, police scanners, 1,500 copies of the war declaration and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

The diehard racist quickly turned informant on other supremacists, and federal prosecutors recommended Cross for the federal witness protection program and offered him a reduced sentence. In a sentencing memo filed with the federal court, a civil rights attorney with the U.S. Justice Department said Cross had co-operated with investigations of crimes committed in at least three federal jurisdictions, and helped state investigators with a case in which three men were slain at an adult bookstore in Shelby, N.C..

Klan-watch groups said white supremacists across the country who had regarded Cross as a hero began referring to him as a race traitor -- worth 50 points to kill, based on his own scale.

When he got out of prison in 1990, Cross became a truck driver and moved to Iowa, then Missouri, where he also ran for office several times but never got more than a handful of write-in votes, the Kansas City Star reported. He sought the 7th District U.S. House seat from Missouri in 2006, and filed as a write-in candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010. That year, he bought or tried to buy advertising time on several Missouri radio stations for ads that bitterly denounced Jews, the federal government and African-Americans.

It's unclear why he changed his name to Cross, but an acting U.S. attorney told The Associated Press in 1988 Miller and his family would take on new identities under the witness protection program.

 

-- The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 15, 2014 A11

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