The U.S. Supreme Court vacated two stays of execution Wednesday morning for convicted murderer Joseph Paul Franklin, clearing the way for Missouri to put him to death.
A 63-year-old death row inmate who targeted blacks and Jews was granted a stay of execution Tuesday evening, just hours away from his scheduled death via lethal injection.
The St. Louis Press-Dispatch reported that Franklin’s request was granted by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey, thus allowing for the resolution of a lawsuit filed by him and 20 other inmates against the state Department of Corrections for changing the formula used in the injection.
The state had planned to use pentobarbital, a drug commonly used to euthanize animals, after European drug manufacturers declared they would stop supplying U.S. prisons with anesthetic profofol. Laughrey criticized the state in her ruling for not identifying the compounding pharmacy providing it with the pentobarbital, saying that the American Veterinary Medical Association had recommended against using it because of a risk of contamination.
Franklin was scheduled to be executed at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for shooting and killing 42-year-old Gerald Gordon outside a St. Louis synagogue in 1977. Franklin was convicted of seven other murders and is blamed for committing 20 killings between 1977 and 1980.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling about 5 a.m., and Franklin was put to death a short time later.
“I think it was a terrible thing to do and a terrible crime to commit against some people at a house of worship,” Franklin told KTVI-TV in an interview filmed last week. “I’ve got no excuse for it. All I can say is, I was mentally ill. It was just a really bad thing to do to somebody.”
Watch KTVI’s report on the stay of execution for Franklin, aired on Tuesday, below.