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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Missouri executes Joseph Paul Franklin

Joseph Paul Franklin
Joseph Paul Franklin
White supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin was executed Wednesday morning after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his final requests for a stay, prison officials in Bonne Terre, Missouri, said. CNN affiliate KMOV reported Franklin was executed at 6:17 a.m. CT (7:17 a.m. ET).

The execution, which had been scheduled for shortly after midnight Wednesday, was delayed for hours because of court appeals.

Source: CNN, November 20, 2013





Missouri executes serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin

BONNE TERRE, Mo. — Joseph Paul Franklin, a white supremacist who targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980, was put to death Wednesday in Missouri, the state's first execution in nearly three years.

Franklin, 63, was executed at the state prison in Bonne Terre for killing Gerald Gordon in a sniper shooting at a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977. Franklin was convicted of seven other murders across the country and claimed responsibility for up to 20 overall, but the Missouri case was the only one that brought a death sentence.

Mike O'Connell, of the Missouri Department of Corrections, said Franklin was pronounced dead at 6:17 a.m.

The execution was the first in Missouri using a single drug, pentobarbital.

Franklin's fate was sealed early Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal appeals court ruling that overturned two stays granted Tuesday evening by district court judges in Missouri.

Franklin also admitted to shooting and wounding civil rights leader Vernon Jordan and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who has been paralyzed from the waist down since the attack in 1978.

Franklin, a paranoid schizophrenic who grew up in Mobile, Ala., was in his mid-20s in 1977 when he began drifting across America, robbing up to 16 banks to fund his travels.

He bombed a synagogue in Chattanooga, Tenn., in July that year. No one was hurt, but the killings began soon after that, many of them sniper shootings.

Franklin had a particular dislike for interracial couples — several of his victims were black men and the white women with them.

He arrived in suburban St. Louis and picked out Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel synagogue from the Yellow Pages. On Oct. 8, 1977, a bar mitzvah ended and guests were in the parking lot when Franklin opened fire from a grassy area nearby, killing Gordon, 42.

The killings continued for three more years. Franklin was finally caught after killing two young black men who were about to go jogging with two teenage white girls in Salt Lake City in August 1980.

Years later, in federal prison, he admitted to the St. Louis County killing. He was sentenced to death in 1997.

Franklin, in the days leading up to the execution, said in several interviews that he was sorry for his crimes and was no longer a racist.

Source: AP, November 20, 2013

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