Joseph Paul Franklin, the white supremacist who was convicted of eight murders, suspected in as many as 20 others and who shot Hustler publisher Larry Flynt in 1978, was put to death Wednesday in Missouri.
St. Louis Public Radio followed the news overnight as Franklin ran out of legal challenges.
Alan Greenblatt wrote for us last week about how Flynt, who was paralyzed after being shot, didn’t want Franklin to be executed.
“A life spent in a 3-by-6-foot cell is far harsher than the quick release of a lethal injection,” Flynt wrote last month in The Hollywood Reporter. “I have had many years in this wheelchair to think about this very topic.”
Franklin, as The Associated Press has reported, “targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980.”
During a jailhouse interview, the 63-year-old Franklin recently told CNN about why he shot Flynt:
” ‘I saw that interracial couple he had, photographed there, having sex,’ he says. Franklin is referring to the December 1975 issue of Hustler that featured several photos of a black man with a white woman. ‘It just made me sick. I think whites marry with whites, blacks with blacks, Indians with Indians. Orientals with orientals. I threw the magazine down and thought, I’m gonna kill that guy.’ ”
Franklin also shot and seriously wounded civil rights leader Vernon Jordan in 1980.