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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Death penalty opponents are using the 25th anniversary of Missouri's resumption of capital punishment to highlight their desire to halt executions.
 
George Mercer was executed on Jan. 6, 1989, for the 1978 rape and slaying of waitress Karen Keeten in the Kansas City area. Mercer's execution was Missouri's first after a nationwide moratorium on capital punishment was lifted in 1976.
 
Since then, Missouri has executed 70 inmates.
 
Death penalty opponents planned a news conference Monday at the Missouri Capitol.
 
Missouri slowed its execution pace in recent years during court challenges to its procedures.
 
But it executed two people in the past two months and is scheduled to execute Herbert Smulls on Jan. 29 for the 1991 robbery and slaying of suburban St. Louis jewelry store owner Stephen Honickman.
Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Use of the death penalty declined nationally in 2013, but the punishment has seen a resurgence in Missouri.
 
The Death Penalty Information Center on Thursday released a report showing that 39 people were executed in the U.S. in 2013, just the second time in 19 years that fewer than 40 were put to death.
 
Missouri has executed two men in the past month - Joseph Paul Franklin on Nov. 29 and Allen Nicklasson on Dec. 11. The executions were the first in Missouri since 2011, and the most in a single year since five in 2005.
 
Meanwhile, the number of new U.S. death sentences so far this year is 80, up three from 2012 but down from 315 in 1996. Three death sentences were imposed in Missouri in 2013.
 
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Prosecutors will no longer seek the death penalty against a southwest Missouri man who is charged with killing a classmate.
 
Prosecutors said Wednesday that they dropped the possibility of capital punishment after 20-year-old Gabriel Roche of Republic agreed to have his case decided by a judge, not a jury.
 
Roche is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the December 2011 death of 17-year-old Weston North. Roche took his classmate to a secluded area and stabbed him before slitting his throat.
 
Prosecutors say Roche believed North was a police informant.
 
The Springfield News-Leader reports Roche's attorneys didn't dispute that their client killed North. They asked the judge to consider charging him with second-degree murder, arguing that Roche was on drugs and hallucinating during the killing.
Published in Local News
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:55

Missouri carries out Nicklasson execution

   Allen Nicklasson has been executed for killing a good Samaritan who stopped to help him and his friends after their car had broken down in 1994. Nicklasson was convicted of shooting Excelsior Springs businessman Richard Drummond twice in the head.  

   Missouri corrections officials carried out Nicklasson's sentence shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the state and overturned a lower court stay.  The 41 year old was pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m. Wednesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre.

   After denying a clemency plea, Governor Jay Nixon issued a statement saying, "the brutality of this crime is unquestioned."  And that a jury had decided it warranted the state's most serious punishment.  Nixon said his decision "upholds the jury's action." 

   The execution is Missouri's second in three weeks and the second since Missouri began using the execution drug, pentobarbital. 

 
Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's office has appealed the stay of execution for convicted killer Allen Nicklasson, calling the federal appeals court ruling "an abuse of discretion."

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday granted a stay for Nicklasson, scheduled to be put to death at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing businessman Richard Drummond nearly two decades ago.

Late Monday, Koster's office asked for a hearing before the full 8th Circuit. By Tuesday morning, no decision had been made on that appeal.

After going nearly three years without an execution, Missouri had been preparing for its second in three weeks. The state executed racist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin on Nov. 20. It was the first execution in Missouri using a single drug, pentobarbital.

Published in Local News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - After going nearly three years without an execution, Missouri is preparing for its second in three weeks.

Allen Nicklasson is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing Richard Drummond, a businessman who stopped to help when he saw a car stranded along Interstate 70 in 1994. Nicklasson and two others forced Drummond to drive to a secluded area, where Nicklasson killed him.

One of the other men, Dennis Skillicorn, was put to death in 2009. The third, Tim DeGraffenreid, was spared the death penalty.

Missouri executed racist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin on Nov. 20, the state's first-ever execution using a single drug, pentobarbital.

Nicklasson's attorney, Jennifer Herndon, has asked the Missouri Supreme Court to intervene and says she will also seek clemency from Gov. Jay Nixon.

Published in Local News

   White supremacist Joseph Franklin is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon refused Monday to grant him clemency.  

   While serving time for three other murders, Franklin confessed to killing 42 year old Gerald Gordon in a sniper attack outside a Richmond Heights synagogue in 1977.  It's the only murder for which he received the death penalty.

   The condemned man spoke with Fox 2 News Monday.  Franklin says he hasn't reached out to Gordon's wife, because he doesn't want to upset her.  "But I would apologize to her right now," he said.  "Tell her I'm sorry for the horrible crime that I committed and ask for her forgiveness."

   Franklin admitted that he does deserve to die for his crime.  He said he's in a completely different place now, mentally.  He described himself as "indoctrinated" at the time of the murder.  "My mind was just all messed up after having read a whole lot of Nazi literature."

   In 1994 Major Rick Zweifel of the Richmond Heights Police Department took Franklin's confession.  Zweifel says that Franklin expressed regret that he hadn't kill more people.  "He's upset it's against the law," Zweifel said.  "And when I questioned him about what do you mean it's against the law? He says killing Jews."

   Franklin has exhausted his appeals, but has filed a lawsuit to stop his execution based on the method Missouri officials plan to employ.

   If the lawsuit fails, Franklin's execution will be the first performed under Missouri's new drug protocol and the first in the state in three years.

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has refused to halt the execution of white supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, calling his crime in Missouri a "cowardly and calculated shooting."

Nixon's office announced the decision Monday afternoon.

Franklin is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for killing 42-year-old Gerald Gordon in a sniper attack outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977. It was one of as many as 20 killings committed by Franklin, who targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980. He was convicted of seven other murders but the Missouri case was the only one resulting in a death sentence.

The execution would be the first in Missouri in nearly three years and the first ever in the state to use a single execution drug, the sedative pentobarbital.

 

Published in Local News

ST LOUIS (AP) - Serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin is getting support ahead of his scheduled execution from an unlikely source: Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who was paralyzed by a bullet apparently fired by Franklin 35 years ago.

Franklin is set for execution Nov. 20 in Missouri for killing a man in 1977, but he's claimed responsibility for killing as many as 21 people nationwide. He admitted to shooting Flynt in 1978 but was never charged.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the motion on Flynt's behalf on Saturday, arguing that Missouri's execution process is too secretive. The motion seeks to unseal court records related to the process.

Franklin has been convicted in five murders. He was given the death penalty for killing Gerald Gordon outside a St. Louis-area synagogue in 1977.

Published in Local News

   LOS ANGELES (AP) - Porn publisher Larry Flynt says he doesn't want to see the man whose gunshots paralyzed him 35 years ago put to death for his crimes.

   In an essay published Thursday in The Hollywood Reporter, Flynt says that while he'd love to take pliers and a pair of wire cutters to Joseph Paul Franklin, he doesn't believe in the death penalty.

   The Hustler magazine publisher says keeping Franklin locked in a tiny prison cell for the rest of his life is a greater punishment.

   Franklin has been in prison since 1980 for a string of shootings that left five people dead and others wounded.

   He is scheduled to be executed November 20th in Missouri.

   Franklin targeted blacks, Jews and people like Flynt, who he believed promoted interracial relations.

Published in Local News
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