White Supremacist Who Began Killing Spree in Tenn is Executed
BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) — A white supremacist serial killer whose murderous spree began in Tennessee was put to death in Missouri last night.
Sixty-three-year-old Joseph Paul Franklin was executed last night for killing Gerald Gordon in a sniper shooting outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977. Franklin targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980.
Franklin was in his mid-20s when he began drifting across the country. He bombed a synagogue in Chattanooga in July 1977. No one was hurt, but at least eight murders would follow, including one in Chattanooga.
He fired five shots at a synagogue parking lot in the St. Louis neighborhood of Richmond Heights after a bar mitzvah. One shot struck and killed Gerald Gordon, a 42-year-old father of three.
In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday, Franklin insisted he no longer hates blacks or Jews. While he was held at St. Louis County Jail, he said he interacted with blacks at the jail, "and I saw they were people just like us."