KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A U.S. senator from Kansas is questioning whether three people fatally shot at two Kansas City-area Jewish centers this April might still be alive if the federal government had not been so lenient a quarter-century ago with the white supremacist charged in the deaths.
In a letter sent Friday to Attorney General Eric Holder and provided to The Associated Press, Sen. Jerry Moran asks whether Department of Justice policies have changed since 1987, when federal prosecutors gave Frazier Glenn Miller a five-year sentence for possessing stolen military weapons and declaring war on the government.
"While Miller is now incarcerated and the lives lost on April 13 are irreplaceable, a rigorous assessment of relevant Department of Justice policies and protocols may spare others from the agony and grief of violence," Moran wrote.
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to phone messages and emails from the AP on Sunday seeking comment.
Miller -- identified in Kansas court documents as Frazier Glenn Cross -- is accused of killing 69-year-old William Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, in the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. Prosecutors say Miller then went to the nearby Village Shalom senior care facility and killed Terri LaManno, 53, of Kansas City, Missouri.
Miller, 73, of Aurora, Missouri, is charged with one count of capital murder in the deaths of Corporon and Underwood, and one count of first-degree murder in LaManno's slaying. He also faces three counts of attempted murder and is jailed on $10 million bail.
In a 1987 sentencing memorandum Moran provided to the AP, an attorney with the DOJ's Civil Rights Division urged a federal judge to sentence Miller to five years in prison for possessing stolen military weapons and mailing out 2,000 copies of a document titled "Declaration of War" in violation of his sentence in a 1986 federal contempt case.
The two counts carried a maximum combined sentence of 15 years. Despite strong assertions in the sentencing memo that Miller was a danger to society and his crimes "could have resulted in the loss of innocent life," prosecutors said his cooperation in the investigation of other white supremacists warranted the lesser sentence.
They also noted that if they had pursued charges for numerous other violations of federal law, Miller could have been sentenced to more than 100 years behind bars without parole.
"I am concerned that Miller's commitment to violence and self-proclaimed unshakable white supremacist beliefs were not appropriately considered by the Department of Justice during initial plea bargain considerations and in the years following his time in federal prison," Moran wrote.
Miller testified against more than a dozen other white supremacists, including members of a group known as The Order that accused of plotting to overthrow the federal government. Despite his testimony, which was viewed by his peers as traitorous, each of the 14 defendants in the Fort Smith, Arkansas, trial was acquitted.
In his 1999 memoir, "A White Man Speaks Out," Miller recounted how he enthusiastically accepted the government's help after being told he could face up to 200 years in prison.
"I was to plead guilty to one count of felony possession of a hand grenade and answer all questions posed to me by the authorities. In return, they would recommend a 5-year prison sentence, immunity from any further prosecution by either state or federal authorities, and entrance into the federal witness protection program which included the financial support of my family while I served my sentence.
"A five-year sentence sounded a little more palatable than 200, so I accepted."