Joseph 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]
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.
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.
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.
The State Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Johnny A. Johnson, who is on death row for the kidnapping, attempted rape and murder of a six-year-old girl in 2002 near St. Louis. Johnson’s attorney had appealed the decision, saying the St. Louis circuit court erred in denying him post-conviction relief.
Johnson will remain on death row for abducting a girl from her Valley Park home, taking her to an abandoned glass factory, attempting to rape her and then beating her to death with bricks and a boulder.
At trial, Johnson did not deny killing the girl but disputed that he deliberated before doing so, blaming a schizo-affective disorder that caused command hallucinations telling him to rape and kill the girl. [The Missourinet]