Author Archives: Jessica Machetta

Victim’s family: “It’s over. Thank God”

In his final statement, convicted rapist and killer Jeffrey Ferguson wrote that he prays “for the victim’s family to have peace in their hearts one day and lose the anger, hate and need for revenge that has driven them” and that they find “forgiveness, compassion and love in their hearts instead.”

Kelli Hall’s family speaks to the press.

Kelli Hall’s family speaks to the press.

However, Kelli Hall’s father, Jim Hall, told reporters after the execution that what Ferguson felt in dying wasn’t one iota compared to the fear and pain his daughter felt when her life was taken from her at age 17.

Jim Hall was joined by his former wife and Kelli’s mother, Susan King, two brothers, Stephen (and Melissa) Hall and Michael Venegoni, Jr., and a cousin, Chris Parmeter, in saying that today was a “special day for Kelli’s family.”

“It’s been a very long 25 years waiting for this execution, way too long,” Jim said. “My family and I have been devastated for years over this. His family was devastated by this. This basically tore two families apart. That should have never been. It’s been so long, it tested our ability to move forward.”

“They took her someplace, they undressed her and Kenneth Ousley raped her while Ferguson stood by and waited his turn,” Jim said, fighting to keep his composure. “Ferguson was more violent than Ousley, because he killed her while he was raping her.”

He says the Hall family was elated when an execution date had been set last month.
“We waited 25 years for that news,” Jim said. “It’s been 301 months since we buried Kelli. To the day.”

He says now, maybe, his family can move on.

“I’m not sure. We’ll find out starting tomorrow,” he said. “Kelli can rest now.” “It’s over, thank God,” said Kelli’s mother, Susan King.

Governor Jay Nixon issued a brief statement about the execution, saying that Jeffrey Ferguson was convicted of Kelli’s murder and sentenced to the ultimate punishment provided by Missouri law.

“That sentence has now been carried out,” Nixon said. “I ask that Missourians remember Kelli Hall at this time and join us in keeping her family in their thoughts and prayers.”

Ferguson’s brother, friend and two daughters also witnessed the execution. His daughters wept as the curtain was drawn and he lie on the gurney. As he had said he would, Ferguson made funny faces at them, and mouthed that he loved them.

He was then administered a lethal dose of pentobarbital, waggled his feet rapidly, took a few breaths, then closed his eyes. He was pronounced dead shortly after.

Franklin executed

franklinJoseph Paul Franklin was executed at the Bonne Terre prison, moments after the United States Supreme Court lifted the last stays issued earlier by two federal district judges.

Franklin was executed for murdering a man outside a St. Louis synagogue 36 years ago.  He admitted it was one of 22 murders he committed, saying he hoped to start a race war with his killings.  Franklin was a self-described white supremacist.

Federal judges had earlier issued stays, questioning his mental competence to be executed, and questioning the proper procedures used in making the drug compound used to kill him.

The Missourinet’s Jessica Machetta filed this report from the prison shortly after the execution. [AUDIO]

 

Second stay granted; Koster appeals

A second federal judge has issued a stay of execution for Joseph Paul Franklin, who is scheduled to be executed sometime tomorrow. Execution dates are set for 12:01 a.m., giving the state a full day to resolve court stays. Attorney General Chris Koster has moved to get the stays lifted.

Federal Judge Nanette Laughry had issued the first stay, ruling legitimate questions have been raised about the drug to be used for Franklin’s execution. The second stay has been issued by judge Carol Jackson, who says Franklin’s mental competency has been questioned and time is needed to determine if he is sane enough to be executed.

Koster argues the first stay should be vacated because Franklin has not exhausted his state administrative remedies. He also argues against Franklin’s claims that the execution drug might not be safe.

Koster says the second stay should be lifted because the anecdotal evidence cited by Jackson do not support the conclusion Jackson has made.

The Missourinet’s Jessica Machetta is in Bonne Terre awaiting further developments.

Stay of execution issued; judge critical of repeated protocol changes

A federal judge in Jefferson City has stayed tonight’s execution of Joseph Paul Franklin. Judge Nanette Laughry says “serious concerns” have been raised about the new drug protocol to be used for the executions.

The judge says Franklin “has been afforded no time to research the risk of pain associated with the…new protocol, the quality of the pentobarbital provided, and the record of the source of the pentobarbital.”

Laughery says Franklin has not “unnecessarily delayed” bringing his case to the federal court. She says the corrections department has changed the protocol three times in less than two months, the most recent time just four days ago. She says “details of the execution protocol have been illusive at best.”

A spokesman for Corrections Director George Lombardi said shortly after 5 p.m. that no stand-down had been ordered at the Bonne Terre prison where the execution is to take place. An Attorney General’s spokesman would not comment on whether Attorney General Chris Koster was moving to dissolve the stay.

Supreme Court sets execution dates for Nicklasson, Franklin

Attorney General Chris Koster has announced in a press release that the Missouri Supreme Court had granted the State’s motion to set execution dates for Allen Nicklasson and Joseph Franklin, both of whom have exhausted all appeals in their death sentences. The Court has set Nicklasson’s execution for Oct. 23, 2013, and Franklin’s execution for Nov. 20, 2013.

“Last month, we renewed our request that the Court set execution dates for convicted murderers Joseph Franklin and Allen Nicklasson,” Koster said. “We are pleased that the Court has reexamined the issue, and granted the motions.  The death penalty remains a legal punishment in our state.  By setting these execution dates, the Court has taken an important step to see that justice is finally done for the victims and their families.”

Nicklasson was found guilty in 1996 of first degree murder for the death of “Good Samaritan” Richard Drummond.  Nicklasson was the trigger-man in the 1994 killing of Drummond, who had offered a ride to Nicklasson, Dennis Skillicorn and Tim DeGraffenreid after their car broke down on Interstate 70.  Skillicorn was executed in May 2009 for his role in the crime.

Franklin was convicted in 1997 for shooting and killing Gerald Gordon, who was standing in the parking lot of a St. Louis area synagogue after a bar mitzvah.  Franklin also was convicted of shooting two other men who were in the synagogue parking lot.  While Franklin will be executed for his crimes in Missouri, he also was convicted for the murder of two African-Americans in Utah, the murder of an interracial couple in Wisconsin, and the bombing of a synagogue in Tennessee.  Franklin also has claimed responsibility for the shooting of Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine.