At 6:17 this morning, the State of Missouri executed 63 year old Joseph Paul Franklin.
The White Supremacist serial killer was put to death for killing Gerald Gordon.
I covered that story in 1977 when Franklin armed with a rifle chose a spot near a St. Louis synagogue and waited. He wasn’t looking to specifically kill Gordon; he just wanted to kill a Jew.
He chose Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel Synagogue in Richmond Heights from the Yellow Pages. Then, on Oct. 8, 1977, he was lying in ambush as a bar mitzvah ended. He aimed at guests in the parking lot and started shooting.
He fired 5 shots and one bullet killed the 42 year old Gordon who had three children.
Franklin was not caught that day and for 3 more years continued sniping victims he chose because of his hate.
He was finally caught after killing two young black men who were about to go jogging with two teenage white girls in Salt Lake City.
It was while he was in federal prison that Franklin admitted to killing Gordon.
Even though Franklin was convicted of 7 other murders and claimed he had killed 20 … he only got the death sentence for the St. Louis case.
He had also admitted to shooting and wounding civil rights leader Vernon Jordan and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt who has been paralyzed from the waist down since he was shot in 1978.
Franklin bombed a synagogue in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but no one was hurt.
As a sniper he often chose interracial couples … several of his victims were black men who were with white women.
Among his victims, two black children in Cincinnati, three female hitchhikers and a white 15-year-old prostitute that he killed because she had sex with black men.
Monday, in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Franklin insisted that he no longer hated blacks or Jews. He says that while in the St. Louis County Jail he interacted with blacks and “I saw they were people just like us.”
There were numerous delays as Missouri tried to execute Franklin, and in the closing days, there were additional appeals and arguments to save his life … issues over the drug to be used, his mental capacity, his trial lawyers’ abilities.
He was to be executed shortly after midnight, but the legal battles continued until this morning at 6:17, Franklin was pronounced dead at Bonne Terre prison.
One of the arguments to save his life was … fear that he might suffer pain from the lethal injection.
Think of the pain he caused his victims.
Think of the pain he caused families and friends of his victims.
They will live with their pain forever.
Previously, I’ve talked about witnessing the execution of George “Tiny” Mercer; in 1989, Mercer was the first to be executed in Missouri after the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
As I’ve said, I don’t have mercy for Mercer for what he did to his 22 year old female victim.
I don’t have any mercy for Franklin and his killing spree.
God can have mercy on their souls, but I don’t.
So, I really don’t care if Franklin suffered because a needle was put into his arm and he was given a lethal injection that might have stung.
I just … don’t … care.