White supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, who targeted black and Jewish people in a nationwide killing spree, has been put to death in Missouri.
Joseph Paul Franklin, 63, was executed for shooting dead a man and wounding two others outside a synagogue in 1977.
He was convicted of seven other racially motivated murders. He claimed to have committed 20 in total.
Joseph Paul Franklin’s execution came after the Supreme Court upheld an appeal court’s decision to lift a stay of execution.
In 1978, Joseph Paul Franklin shot Larry Flynt, leaving him partially paralyzed, after seeing a picture of a mixed-race couple in one of his magazines.
However, Larry Flynt – who opposes the death penalty – had sued to prevent Joseph Paul Franklin’s execution.
In a recent interview with the St Louis Post-Dispatch, Joseph Paul Franklin said he had renounced his racist views.
Joseph Paul Franklin was executed for shooting dead a man and wounding two others outside a synagogue in 1977
He said his motivation had been “illogical” and was partly a consequence of an abusive upbringing.
Joseph Paul Franklin said he had interacted with black people in jail, adding: “I saw they were people just like us.”
His lawyers’ appeal focused on a dispute over the type of lethal injections that Missouri uses in its executions.
US and EU manufacturers have been cutting off the supply of drugs used for lethal injections in recent years in an attempt to distance themselves from executions.
As a result, Missouri, which long used a lethal three-drug cocktail for executions, has changed the drugs it uses three times in as many months.
The single drug used in the execution of Joseph Paul Franklin was pentobarbital, a short-acting barbiturate that can induce death in high doses.
On Tuesday, Joseph Paul Franklin’s lawyers won a stay of execution when they argued in federal court that using this drug would violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
However, early on Wednesday, a federal appeals court overturned the stay of execution. Its ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court, sealing Joseph Paul Franklin’s fate.
An anti-capital punishment group, Supporters of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, attended a candlelight vigil for Joseph Paul Franklin outside a church in the city of St Louis.
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White supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin has been granted a stay of execution by a federal judge amid legal challenges over the use of a new drug in the execution process.
The ruling came hours before Joseph Paul Franklin was due to be put to death in Missouri.
Joseph Franklin, 63, was sentenced to death for killing one man and wounding two others outside a synagogue in 1977.
He was also convicted of a series of other racially motivated murders.
Joseph Paul Franklin also confessed to being the sniper who shot publisher Larry Flynt in 1978, leaving him partially paralyzed.
In the past two years US and European drug manufacturers have sought to distance themselves from executions – cutting off supplies and leaving US states that use the death penalty scrambling for alternatives.
Missouri announced it would instead use pentobarbital, sourced not from a pharmaceutical company but from a compounding pharmacy that makes small batches of drugs on demand for specific clients.
Joseph Paul Franklin has been granted a stay of execution by a federal judge amid legal challenges over the use of a new drug in the execution process
However, campaigners object to these pharmacies, partly because they are not subject to regulation by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In her ruling on Tuesday, District Court Judge Nanette Laughrey said that a lawsuit filed by Joseph Paul Franklin and other death-row inmates challenging Missouri’s drug protocol must first be resolved.
She said details of the execution protocol had been “illusive at best”.
“It is clear from the procedural history of this case that through no fault of his own, Franklin could not resolve his claims without a stay of his scheduled execution date.”
Judge Nanette Laughrey added: “Franklin has been afforded no time to research the risk of pain associated with the department’s new protocol, the quality of the pentobarbital provided, and the record of the source of the pentobarbital.”
Joseph Paul Franklin was to be executed for shooting a man dead outside a Missouri synagogue in 1977 – one of some 20 killings in which he targeted black and Jewish people across several states.
In 1978, Joseph Paul Franklin shot Larry Flynt after seeing a picture of a mixed-race couple in one of his magazines.
However, Larry Flynt opposes the death penalty and had backed the appeal by convicts on Missouri’s death row.
If the execution is carried out, Joseph Paul Franklin would be the 35th inmate executed in the US in 2013, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
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White supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, who is responsible for as many as 20 murders, is set to die in Missouri just past midnight Tuesday, the first execution in the state in nearly three years.
Joseph Paul Franklin, 63, is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing 42-year-old Gerald Gordon in a sniper attack outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977. It was one of as many as 20 killings committed by Joseph Paul Franklin, who targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980.
He was convicted of seven other murders but the Missouri case was the only one resulting in a death sentence.
Joseph Paul Franklin, who is responsible for as many as 20 murders, is set to die in Missouri just past midnight Tuesday
Joseph Paul Franklin has also admitted to shooting and wounding civil rights leader Vernon Jordan and publisher Larry Flynt, who has been paralyzed from the waist down since the attack in 1978.
Larry Flynt has also sued to stop Joseph Paul Franklin’s execution because he doesn’t believe the death penalty is a deterrent.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Monday refused to halt the execution, denying Joseph Paul Franklin’s clemency request and calling his crime in Missouri a “cowardly and calculated shooting.”
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Larry Flynt has said he does not want Joseph Paul Franklin – the man who put him in a wheelchair – to face the death penalty.
Joseph Paul Franklin, who shot Larry Flynt outside a Georgia court in 1978, is set for execution in Missouri in November.
“I have every reason to be overjoyed with this decision, but I am not,” Larry Flynt told the Hollywood Reporter.
“I would love an hour in a room with him… so I could inflict the same damage on him that he inflicted on me. But, I do not want to… see him die.”
White supremacist Joseph Paul Franklin, who is being executed for killing Gerald Gordon outside a synagogue in 1977, has been convicted of a total of eight racially motivated murders across the US between 1977 and 1980.
Joseph Paul Franklin confessed to, or was implicated in, 13 additional racial murders.
Larry Flynt has said he does not want Joseph Paul Franklin, the man who put him in a wheelchair, to face the death penalty
The killer said he targeted Larry Flynt after the publisher featured a black man and white woman in a photoshoot in Hustler, the magazine that formed the cornerstone of his entertainment business.
“He hated blacks, he hated Jews, he hated all minorities,” Larry Flynt wrote.
The entertainment mogul, who suffered permanent spinal cord damage, was left paralyzed from the waist down after the shooting.
The events were dramatized in the 1996 film The People vs. Larry Flynt, starring Woody Harrelson and Courtney Love.
“As far as the severity of punishment is concerned, to me, a life spent in a 3-by-6-foot cell is far harsher than the quick release of a lethal injection,” wrote Larry Flynt, now 70, in a guest column this week.
The publisher, who has never met Joseph Paul Franklin face-to-face, says he does not believe the death penalty is a deterrent.
“I have had many years in this wheelchair to think about this very topic,” Larry Flynt wrote.
“As I see it, the sole motivating factor behind the death penalty is vengeance, not justice, and I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself.”
In a statement in August, Missouri attorney general Chris Koster said by setting an execution date of November 20, the court had taken “an important step to see that justice is finally done for the victims and their families”.