Larry Flynt Shooter Executed

After Supreme Court denies 11th-hour appeal over pentobarbital

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 19, 2013 11:11 PM CST | Updated Nov 20, 2013 7:08 AM CST

(Newser) – After a dizzying 11th-hour back-and-forth, the Supreme Court of the United States this morning denied a stay of execution for a racist serial killer linked to 20 murders; Missouri executed Joseph Franklin shortly thereafter, at 6:17am local time, reports the AP. It marked the state's first execution in almost three years, and its first using a single drug, the pentobarbital. Franklin had been granted a stay of execution late yesterday by a federal judge concerned by Missouri's choice of that controversial execution drug; a federal appeals court then lifted that stay, and Franklin's lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court, reports the AP.

Early today, the high court rejected Franklin's appeal, overturning the first judge's ruling that Missouri must resolve a lawsuit from Franklin and 20 other inmates before it can use pentobarbital for lethal injections, reports the New York Daily News. Missouri's Supreme Court and Gov. Jay Nixon had already rejected appeals. Franklin, a white supremacist who targeted blacks, Jews, and interracial couples in a three-year killing spree that began in 1977, was the shooter who paralyzed Hustler publisher Larry Flynt in 1978. Franklin was sentenced to die for the sniper killing of a man outside a St. Louis synagogue in 1977. He was convicted of seven other murders and has confessed to or been charged with a dozen more. Flynt—who was targeted because his magazine depicted interracial couples—previously said he didn't want Franklin executed.

In this June 2, 1981photo, Joseph Paul Franklin is shown following his conviction on two counts of first degree murder in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/File)
Death penalty opponents hold a vigil outside St. Francis Xavier Church hours before the scheduled execution of Missouri death row inmate Joseph Paul Franklin.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
In this Monday, Oct. 19, 1998 photo, Joseph Paul Franklin sits in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court where jury selection was set to begin in his murder trial in Cincinnati.   (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)
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