Missouri on Wednesday morning executed Joseph Paul Franklin, 63, a white supremacist killer who targeted blacks and Jews in a three-year spree 35 years ago, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Franklin was put to death for the 1977 sniper killing of Gerald Gordon, 42, outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue. Franklin killed at least 18 people between 1977 and 1980, traveling around the country attacking black and Jewish people.
Franklin was pronounced dead at 6:17 a.m. Wednesday. It was the first execution in Missouri in three years and the first in the state using a single drug, pentobarbital. The execution followed a flurry of 11th-hour appeals and court rulings concerning Franklin’s mental competency and the use of the drug. His fate was sealed at 5:20 a.m. Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal appeals court decision overturning stays granted Tuesday.