Stay of Execution Overturned: Killer Joseph Paul Franklin Put to Death

Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 03:02 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Missouri prison officials executed convicted serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin on Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal appeals court decision overturning a previous stay, according to the Associated Press.

Franklin, who previously confessed to shooting civil rights leader Vernon Jordan and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, won two stays by district court judges in Missouri but the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed with an appeals court order in rejecting those stays.

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Franklin's lawyer appealed on grounds that his client was mentally ill, there were faulty jury instructions during his trial, and because of concerns about Missouri's use of pentobarbital.

Franklin claimed to be a white supremacist who targeted African-Americans and Jews. He confessed to the 1980 shooting of Dante Evans Brown, 13, and the boy's cousin Darrell Lane, 14, both of whom were black.

Franklin was convicted of the murders in 1998.

"I hate him for destroying my life, for taking away something precious to me, a life that I brought into this world," Abbie Evans Clark, 68, Brown's mother, told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Clark said she was attending a graduation party when she heard Lane was killed and her son was barely hanging on to life at a hospital.

"They were working on him when I got there. I thought, 'Who would do this to him?'" Clark said. "They said he was in bad shape and I fell in the hallway."

The case remained unresolved until Hamilton County, Ohio, prosecutors persuaded Franklin to confess, according to the Enquirer.

"Maybe God will forgive (Franklin), but right now I can't," Clark said. "They say you should forgive but at this time, I should pray on that because I don't feel that way.

"I didn't know if we'd see the day come, if it would happen or not. After 33 years ... it's past time. It won't bring (Dante) back but it lets you know that justice will be done for the senseless murders of two innocent boys," Clark continued.

Franklin was executed for the 1977 death of Gerald Gordon, who died in a sniper shooting at a St. Louis-area synagogue, according to the Associated Press. In all, Franklin was convicted of eight murders around the country and he claimed he was responsible for about 20 deaths overall.

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