ST. LOUIS (AP) — No one knows how many atrocities Joseph Paul Franklin committed as he crossed the country more than three decades ago, fueled by hatred of blacks and Jews. Along the way he bombed a synagogue, robbed banks, shot and wounded a porn icon — and killed, by his own account, nearly two dozen people.
Even among the hard-core criminals on Missouri's death row, Franklin is perhaps the most notorious, killing and maiming victims while shooting from a vacant building, a grassy field and a highway overpass.
Franklin is scheduled to be put to death early Wednesday at a Missouri prison. His attorney says he is a paranoid schizophrenic who was abused as a child. She's asked federal and state courts and Gov. Jay Nixon to halt the execution. All have declined.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Sen. Claire McCaskill says she'll introduce legislation requiring U.S. defense officials to address mismanagement in a military-led unit responsible for finding service members missing in action.
McCaskill's remarks come several months after an Associated Press story revealed an internal Pentagon report harshly critical of the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command, which searches for missing soldiers' remains. The Pentagon report included accusations of misconduct among those responsible for overseas missions to investigate prospects for recovering remains.
McCaskill, a Democrat, said Friday at a news conference in Kansas City that she's preparing an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill. The amendment would give the Defense Department one year to submit a plan for reorganizing the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command and improving its accountability.
VERSAILLES, Mo. (AP) — One of three suspects in the February killings of a central Missouri couple has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.
The Lake Sun Leader reports that 43-year-old Derrell Spellmeyer, of Eldon, also pleaded guilty Thursday to armed criminal action. Sentencing is scheduled Jan. 16 in Morgan County Circuit Court.
Spellmeyer was accused of shooting 53-year-old Carol Wilson and stabbing 66-year-old Freddie Wilson on Feb. 4 at their home in Versailles (vur-SAYLZ'). He was arrested by detectives responding to a call from Carol Wilson saying she had been shot.
Forty-five-year-old Garland Mitchell and 28-year-old Mandy Mitchell, both of Jefferson City, are awaiting trial on the same charges.
The Mitchells told investigators the three went to the home to obtain drugs, but that only Spellmeyer went inside.
15 stores at St. Clair Square are closed this afternoon after a water main break. The break seems to be in the south parking lot between JC Penney and Sears.
Crews are on site working to repair the main.
There was a brief lockdown at Vashon High School today after a fight.
St. Louis City Police were called to the school after there were several fights between female students. Administrators place the school on lock-down and restricted movement between classes to restore order.
Fox 2 reports that nine students are facing charges. The lockdown has been lifted.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An employee pension reform bill passed by the Legislature for the Chicago park district is being watched as a test case for statewide reforms, even as it poses a tricky dilemma for Gov. Pat Quinn.
Lawmakers say passage of the park district reforms shouldn't be interpreted as a blueprint for the success of a larger plan addressing the state's $100 billion pension problem. But it could be a test case for how pension reform deals will be interpreted by the courts.
House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman credits successful negotiations between the park district and labor union, something that hasn't happened statewide.
Quinn has been a champion of pension reform. But union officials who raised a late objection to the park district plan are among his biggest campaign contributors.
St. Louis Police announced today that they have a suspect in custody connected to the shooting of an off-duty officer this week.
On Wednesday night the officer was visiting his sister at her north St. Louis home. The officer asked to men inside the house to leave. One suspect ran out and while the officer was escorting the second man from the house, he shot at the officer. The victim was hit in the leg and the suspect ran from the scene.
The suspect was captured today and charges are pending. The officer was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A hearing to consider the request of a Missouri teen to have her guilty plea in the killing of a 9-year-old neighbor vacated, corrected or set aside has been rescheduled.
Alyssa Bustamante pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the October 2009 killing of Elizabeth Olten. Bustamante now is 19 years old and was 15 at the time of the killing. They lived in St. Martins, just west of Jefferson City.
Online court records show a hearing scheduled for Friday has been moved to Jan. 30.
Bustamante was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole and ordered to serve a consecutive 30-year term for armed criminal action. She was initially charged with first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of life without parole.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The head of the NAACP Salt Lake City branch is asking Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to commute a death sentence for a serial killer who killed two Salt Lake City joggers in 1980.
Joseph Paul Franklin is scheduled to be executed next week for the 1977 murder of a Missouri man outside a synagogue. He was also convicted in the 1980s killings of 20-year-old Ted Fields and 18-year-old David Martin, both black men.
Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP's Salt Lake Branch, says in a letter to Nixon that the execution costs more than keeping Franklin in prison for life.
Franklin has claimed responsibility for nearly two dozen other killings and many other crimes. He admitted shooting Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt in 1978 but was never charged.
The standoff in Jennings is over after the suspect surrendered to police.
The standoff, in the 5200 block of Hamilton, lasted from around 9 AM until noon. Officers were trying to arrest the suspect, who was wanted for a robbery in Chesterfield, when he ran off. The man barricaded himself inside a house. The St. Louis County Tactical team was called in.
A negotiator was able to talk the suspect out of home. He surrendered to police without incident.