US executes white supremacist serial killer
White supremacist serial killer, Joseph Franklin, was executed Wednesday morning after the United States Supreme Court rejected his final requests for a stay, the Missouri Department of Public Safety said.
The execution, which had been scheduled for shortly after midnight Wednesday, was delayed for hours because of court appeals. Franklin was administered a lethal injection at 6:07am CT (7:07 a.m. ET). He died 10 minutes later.
Franklin refused his final meal and gave no final statement, CNN reports.
He was on death row for the 1977 murder of Gerald Gordon outside a synagogue in St. Louis. He was blamed for 22 killings between 1977 and 1980 in a bid to start a race war.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, denied clemency for Franklin on Monday, saying he had committed “merciless acts of violence, fueled by hate.”
In addition to the killings, Franklin admitted to the attempted assassinations of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt in 1978 and civil rights leader Vernon Jordan in 1980. Flynt, who was paralyzed by Franklin’s bullet, has called for clemency for Franklin, saying “the government has no business at all being in the business of killing people.”
One of Franklin’s final legal maneuvers focused on the drug used for the lethal injection, pentobarbital. His attorneys argued that the injection would violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
On Tuesday, US District Judge Nanette Laughrey granted a stay of execution, finding Franklin’s lawyers showed the use of pentobarbital carried “a high risk of contamination and prolonged, unnecessary pain beyond that which is required to achieve death.”
“Given the irreversible nature of the death penalty and plaintiffs’ medical evidence and allegations, a stay is necessary to ensure that the defendants’ last act against Franklin is not permanent, irremediable cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment,” Laughrey wrote.
Another federal judge granted a second stay Tuesday, based on a separate defense petition contesting Franklin’s competency.