Confessed white supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin has been executed after two federal stays were vacated just after midnight Wednesday.
U.S. District Court Judge Nanette Laughery ruled late Tuesday afternoon that a lawsuit filed by Franklin and 21 other death-row inmates challenging Missouri's execution protocol must first be resolved.
Later in the day, a second federal judge stayed the execution, saying a defense appeal over Franklin's mental competency needs more review.
After an appeal by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the 8th circuit U.S. District Court vacated both stays.
Only the U.S. Supreme Court can intervene to stop Franklin's execution now.
It was one of as many as 20 killings committed by Franklin, who targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980.
White supremacist Joseph Franklin is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon refused Monday to grant him clemency.
While serving time for three other murders, Franklin confessed to killing 42 year old Gerald Gordon in a sniper attack outside a Richmond Heights synagogue in 1977. It's the only murder for which he received the death penalty.
The condemned man spoke with Fox 2 News Monday. Franklin says he hasn't reached out to Gordon's wife, because he doesn't want to upset her. "But I would apologize to her right now," he said. "Tell her I'm sorry for the horrible crime that I committed and ask for her forgiveness."
Franklin admitted that he does deserve to die for his crime. He said he's in a completely different place now, mentally. He described himself as "indoctrinated" at the time of the murder. "My mind was just all messed up after having read a whole lot of Nazi literature."
In 1994 Major Rick Zweifel of the Richmond Heights Police Department took Franklin's confession. Zweifel says that Franklin expressed regret that he hadn't kill more people. "He's upset it's against the law," Zweifel said. "And when I questioned him about what do you mean it's against the law? He says killing Jews."
Franklin has exhausted his appeals, but has filed a lawsuit to stop his execution based on the method Missouri officials plan to employ.
If the lawsuit fails, Franklin's execution will be the first performed under Missouri's new drug protocol and the first in the state in three years.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has refused to halt the execution of white supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, calling his crime in Missouri a "cowardly and calculated shooting."
Nixon's office announced the decision Monday afternoon.
Franklin is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing 42-year-old Gerald Gordon in a sniper attack outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977. It was one of as many as 20 killings committed by Franklin, who targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980. He was convicted of seven other murders but the Missouri case was the only one resulting in a death sentence.
The execution would be the first in Missouri in nearly three years and the first ever in the state to use a single execution drug, the sedative pentobarbital.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Department of Corrections is switching to a new lethal injection drug, less than two weeks after Gov. Jay Nixon halted executions until a replacement for propofol was found.
The corrections department says in a news release Tuesday that it will use pentobarbital. The Death Penalty Information Center says 13 states use the drug for executions.
The department says the execution of Joseph Franklin on Nov. 20 is still on. Franklin killed Gerald Gordon outside a St. Louis-area synagogue in 1977.
Propofol is the most widely used anesthetic. Nixon on Oct. 11 halted the execution of convicted killer Allen Nicklasson, scheduled for Oct. 23, in part because the European Union was weighing export limits on propofol if it was used in an execution. Most propofol is made in Europe.
Governor Jay Nixon says an execution scheduled for later this month, is postponed.
Nixon made the announcement today in response to recent controversy over the use of a new lethal injection drug. Missouri was prepared to execute Allen Nicklasson on October 23 and the state was going to use propofol. The use of the anesthetic drew criticism from the Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists and Europe threatened to cut off the supply of the drug to Missouri if used in executions.
Nixon says he instructed Attorney General Chris Koster to request a new date for Nicklasson's execution. Nixon also instructed the department of corrections to develop a new form of lethal injection.
Joseph Franklin is the next death row inmate set to be executed, on November 20.
Most of the Missouri Department of Corrections' supply of propofol is headed back to the Louisiana supplier. Supplier Morris and Dickson requested the drugs be returned a year ago and the state says they are complying with the request.
The state's plan to use the anesthetic for executions has come under fire of late. The vast majority of the drug is manufactured in Germany and the European Union is considering export controls if it is used in an execution.
It is unclear what effect the return will have on planned executions--the first scheduled for October 23. The Post-Dispatch reports that the state still has some propofol in stock.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A group representing Missouri anesthesiologists is urging the state to drop plans to use propofol in an upcoming execution, saying the fallout could jeopardize the availability of the anesthetic for thousands of U.S. hospitals and clinics that rely on it.
The Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists statement on Monday followed an Associated Press report last week citing possible European export controls if propofol is used in a U.S. execution. Missouri is the only state planning to use the drug.
Propofol is far and away the most commonly used anesthetic in the U.S., and around 85 percent of it is made in Europe. The European Union opposes the death penalty and is weighing whether to limit export, raising concerns about a potential U.S. propofol shortage.
Two Missouri death row inmates now know when they're slated to die. The state's high court on Wednesday set execution dates for long-serving inmates Allen Nicklasson and Joseph Franklin.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster last month had asked the court to move forward with their sentences.
The court didn't explain why it decided to set the dates. Executions in Missouri have been on hold since 2012 when a federal court challenge was raised over the use of the drug propofol in executions in the state.
Nicklasson's execution is set for October 23rd and Franklin's is November 20th.
Nicklasson was convicted of the 1994 killing of Excelsior Springs businessman Richard Drummond, who stopped to help when a car used by Nicklasson and two others broke down on Interstate 70 in Callaway County. Another man in the car, Dennis Skillicorn, was executed in 2009.
Franklin was convicted of the 1977 sniper shooting of Gerald Gordon as a crowd dispersed from a bar mitzvah at the Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel Congregation in Richmond Heights. Two others were wounded.
Detectives with the St. Louis Major Case Squad are looking for a suspect in the execution-style death of a Normandy man.
Police say 30 year old Markquette Nunn had been using a weed trimmer in the front yard of his home in the 7600 block of Bermuda Court about 12:45Wednesday afternoon when someone shot him in the back of the head.
A neighbor heard the shot and came outside just in time to see a man running from the scene. Nunn was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say Nunn shared the home with his girlfriend and their baby son, who were not home at the time of the shooting. A friend who also lived in the home was inside when Nunn was shot. He told police he heard the shot, then look outside to see Nunn collapsed in the yard.
Police say they have very little to go in so far. Anyone with information is urged to call the Major Case Squad – via Normandy Police at 314-385-3300, ext. 3018.
Steven Ray Thacker is to be put to death at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester for the December 1999 killing of Laci Dawn Hill in Mayes County.
Thacker - who waived his clemency hearing - would be the first person executed in Oklahoma this year.
Prosecutors say Thacker killed Hill after answering a newspaper ad she and her husband had placed to sell a pool table - then later killed Forrest Boyd in Missouri and Ray Patterson in Tennessee in the 10 days following Hill's slaying.
Thacker also faces a death penalty for the Tennessee slaying and life in prison in Missouri.