In Other News….

Joseph Paul Franklin

Franklin, at the Court of Appeals

A judge has granted a stay on the once imminent execution of the serial killer and white supremacist Joseph Paul Franklin. Now, normally, this would be grounds for an entirely in depth story (and would probably merit a more attention grabbing title), but seeing as it seems rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things (considering how few his options really are at this point), I’ve decided to go forward with this article.

Joseph Paul Franklin 2

Franklin, Pre-Incarceration

Joseph Paul Franklin, who was born as James Clayton Vaughn in Mobile, Alabama on April 13, 1950, is currently in death row awaiting execution for the 1977 murder of Gerald Gordon in the state of Missouri. Apart from that death sentence, he has 6 life sentences, and is linked by either indictment or confession to 20 murders, six aggravated assaults, 16 bank robberies and 2 bombings. His stated motivation was to “cleanse the world” of those he considered racially inferior, with an especial hatred against mixed race couples. Franklin’s well planned crimes allowed him to avoid the authorities time and time again; his purported goal was to start a race war, which was inspired by Hitler’s political manifesto Mein Kampf.

His execution was stayed on the basis of the execution taking place during a time when European drug manufacturers refused or objected on moral grounds to having their drugs used in a lethal injection. To placate them, and to circumvent claims that usage of that specific drug constituting as cruel and unusual punishment, Missouri announced that it would use for Franklin’s execution a new method of lethal injection, which used a single drug provided by an unnamed pharmacy. Two more petitions appeals for stays were overturned, and Franklin’s execution took place on November 20, 2013, using 5 grams of the drug pentobarbital, instead of the conventional triple drug cocktail. It took him ten minutes to be pronounced dead.

Franklin, as he was during his interview

Franklin, as he was during his interview

In an interview with the Saint Louis Post Dispatch newspaper, which was published on November 17, 2013, Franklin claimed to have renounced his racist views. He claimed to recognize the motivation for his views were “illogical”, and that he had interacted with black people in the prison, adding that “I saw they were people just like us”. Which raises the question: just how far must we go to execute people? It costs us thousands of dollars to support one execution, and even the most cut and dry cases take years to develop into the final execution. There is no forgiveness in the eyes of the law; no hope for an inmate trapped in the confines of death row. The demanded toll for an execution, both financially and emotionally,  is forbidding. Why then, do we continue with them?

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