Wednesday, October 18, 2000

Court won't hear serial killer's appeal

Franklin shot two boys here

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A white supremacist serial killer convicted of murdering two Cincinnati boys in 1980 this week moved one step closer to execution.

        Joseph Paul Franklin, 50, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal in another case, the 1977 sniper killing of a Jewish man in St. Louis.

        But the high court declined Monday to listen to the man linked to up to 18 killings across the country and convicted of nine.

        No execution date has been set.

        That likely will not take place until one and possibly two more appeals are exhausted, said Bill Thompson, spokesman for the Missouri Supreme Court.

        Mr. Franklin can still claim ineffective assistance of counsel at the federal level, he said, and possibly at the state level, too. An execution date will not be set until those appeals take place.

        In Cincinnati, Mr. Franklin was convicted in 1998 of the murders of cousins Darrell Lane, 14, and Dante Evans Brown, 13. The boys sneaked out of a relative's house and were walking to a grocery store in Bond Hill when he gunned them down because they were African-American. He was sentenced to 20 years to life on both charges. Ohio had no death penalty at the time of the killings.

        The boys are memorialized in the neighborhood, where a baseball field is named for them.

        Mr. Franklin said he was traveling around the country between 1977 and 1980 trying to start a race war by killing African-Americans and interracial couples. His only death sentence came from the conviction for the Missouri murder.

        Mr. Franklin has admitted to the 1978 shooting that paralyzed Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt. He said he was enraged by pictures of interracial couples in the pornographic magazine. He was never prosecuted in that shooting.


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