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Man who shot porn mogul Larry Flynt given last-minute stay of execution

A judge in the US has questioned the use of the drug that was to be used to put the white supremacist serial killer to death.

Larry Flynt during an interview in the 1970s.
Larry Flynt during an interview in the 1970s.
Image: AP Photo

A US JUDGE has granted a last-minute stay of execution to a white supremacist serial killer, questioning the drug that was to be used to put him to death.

Joseph Paul Franklin, who shot porn mogul Larry Flynt in 1978 and left him paralysed, had been scheduled for execution late on Tuesday night over the killing of another man.

But US District Judge Nanette Laughrey in the central state of Missouri granted the stay, CNN and other news outlets said.

She said Missouri’s use of pentobarbital carried a high risk of “unnecessary pain beyond that which is required to achieve death.”

She wrote:

Given the irreversible nature of the death penalty and plaintiffs’ medical evidence and allegations, a stay is necessary to ensure that the defendants’ last act against Franklin is not permanent, irremediable cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

CNN said a second federal judge, Carol Jackson, granted a separate stay on grounds that Franklin was not mentally competent.

The state has appealed both stays and defense attorney Jennifer Herndon told CNN she expected the appeals court to rule within the next day.


imageLarry Flynt (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Franklin, described as being motivated by racism, was due to be executed over the killing of Gerald Gordon outside a synagogue in St Louis, Missouri in 1977.

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CNN said Franklin is blamed for 22 killings between 1977 and 1980.

Flynt was shot by Franklin in 1978 outside a Georgia courthouse, where Flynt was fighting obscenity charges. But Franklin was never tried in that case.

Flynt, now 70 and wheelchair-bound because of the shooting, wrote last month that he would like to “inflict damage” on Franklin but did not want to see him die.

“As I see it, the sole motivating factor behind the death penalty is vengeance, not justice, and I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself,” Flynt wrote in an opinion column in The Hollywood Reporter.

- © AFP, 2013

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