June 16, 2009
Jefferson City, Mo. -- Attorney General Chris Koster today asked the Missouri Supreme Court to set an execution date for Joseph Franklin. Franklin was convicted in 1997 for shooting and killing Gerald Gordon, who was standing in the parking lot of a St. Louis area synagogue after a bar mitzvah. Franklin also was convicted of shooting two other men who were in the synagogue parking lot.
“Joseph Franklin planned out and committed a heinous crime that was borne of pure hatred, and it is time for him to face his punishment,” Koster said.
Koster noted that while Franklin will be executed for his crimes in Missouri, he also was convicted for the murder of two African-Americans in Utah, the murder of an interracial couple in Wisconsin, and the bombing of a synagogue in Tennessee. Franklin also has claimed responsibility for the shooting of Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine.
Koster said Franklin carefully planned the Missouri murder, scouting synagogues before selecting one in Richmond Heights that had bushes nearby where he could hide and fire. Franklin confessed to the 1977 murder in 1994, while serving six consecutive life sentences at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois.
“Anti-Semitism and racism were at the heart of Franklin’s crimes,” Koster said. “His kind of hatred can not be tolerated by society. It is time for justice to be served.”