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MARIONVILLE, Mo. — Officials in Kansas say Frazier Glenn Cross is a killer who committed a hate crime.

People in Marionville, Mo., called him friendly, a good neighbor, easy to work with, a nice guy.

For Marionville Mayor Danny Clevenger, it's not difficult to see both sides.

"He's always cordial and he always pays good and I never had any problems with him," said Clevenger, who also operates a small engine repair business. "He's a nice guy. It's just you can tell he gets carried away with these beliefs. If you let him start talking about that stuff he'll sure let you know."

Clevenger said Cross, also known as Frazier Glenn Miller, was easy to get along with in the community, but didn't hide his hateful, racist opinions.

"Seems to me like stuff gets built up in people and they eventually explode and have to vent out their problems," Clevenger said. "I think that's kind of what he did. He's been talking about that stuff so long it's just built up inside of him."

Cross, 73, was booked Sunday on premeditated first-degree murder charges for allegedly gunning down a man and his teenage grandson outside the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kan., and a woman outside a nearby retirement home.

On Monday, authorities said they plan to file hate crime charges against Cross, who, if convicted, could face the federal death penalty.

Lorraine Ghan said she met the couple she knew as the Millers when she tried to sell their house.

She said Cross gave her a book he had written.

"I took it home and burned it," she said.

Ghan said Cross tried to spread his views among other people in the Marionville area. Some of the teenage boys shaved their heads, presumably to emulate Klan views.

"It worried us a little bit, but it didn't stick around," Ghan said.

Some members of the Aurora-Marionville community expressed more surprise than others.

Mitzi Owens, who lives in Cross' neighborhood, said he was always friendly.

"I never heard him say anything racist," she said.

Owens said Marionville is a loving, compassionate community.

"Good-hearted," she said. "No haters. No racists. Good-time people."

She said the shootings were heartbreaking.

"That wasn't the guy I see every day," she said. "I'm just devastated for the loss of life."

This isn't the first time Cross' family has drawn headlines for violent deaths.

"We buried two of his boys up at the cemetery," said Max McBride, a resident of Marionville.

McBride said one of Cross' sons died in a car crash. Ghan said Cross claimed people that hated the Klu Klux Klan had killed him.

The other son, Jesse Miller, was killed by a police officer after Miller had killed another man and shot the officer.

The man Miller killed had stopped on the side of the road to help him.

"It was a bad deal," Clevenger said. "It was very sad about what (Cross') son did to that one guy that stopped to help. That really took the town down over that."

Once again, Ozarks residents are trying to make sense of the violence.

"People around town, it probably shocked them but with everything that's happening everywhere else, it's come to Marionville now," Clevenger said. "This isn't Mayberry anymore."

Several law enforcement officials said Cross was on their radar, but in Lawrence County, Mo., he kept a relatively low profile.

Aurora Police Chief Richard Witthuhn said his department had no recent dealings with Cross.

"Some officers asked me if he was even still around," said Witthuhn.

But members of the Jewish community in Springfield, Mo. — about 30 miles east — were still aware of Cross.

Richard Schur, an associate professor of English at Drury University and the president of Temple Israel in Springfield, wrote in a post for Drury that the "Aryan Alternative" newspaper that Cross published was delivered to his neighborhood in late 2005 or early 2006. The version Schur shared proclaimed, "Keep yourself pure keep yourself white."

"I want to share some of it because it horrifies me that we, as a society, knew of the extent of Mr. Miller's hate but did not stop him," Schur wrote.

Marla Marantz, a member of the Jewish community in Springfield, said Cross was known for his leaflets.

"He's been on our radar for quite a long time," she said. "I don't know that any of us expected him to do anything like this, but when somebody's a hater, a true hater, you never know what they're capable of."

Contributing: Rick Jervis, USA TODAY

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