November 20, 2013
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster announced this morning that two stays of execution regarding convicted murderer Joseph Franklin have been finally vacated by the United States Supreme Court, clearing the way for Mr. Franklin's execution to now proceed. Franklin received the death penalty for the 1977 murder of Gerald Gordon at a Richmond Heights synagogue.
On Tuesday evening, federal judges in the Western District of Missouri and the Eastern District of Missouri stayed Franklin's execution scheduled for 12:01 a.m. Wednesday morning. Throughout the night, Koster filed a series of motions in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals successfully obtaining an order vacating those stays, and in the United States Supreme Court upholding the 8th Circuit's order that the execution should proceed.
"While the sentence that will be carried out today cannot erase the terrible memories of the senseless violence in that synagogue parking lot in October 1977, it does represent a degree of finality for those forever affected by this crime of hate," said Koster. "My thoughts and prayers are with the family of friends of Gerald Gordon."
At approximately 5:00 a.m. central time, the United States Supreme Court rejected Franklin's final motions to stay the execution. At this time, no court order prohibits the Missouri Department of Corrections from carrying out the sentence.