Convicted murderer Joseph Franklin executed

Franklin's death is state's first execution in nearly three years

Federal judge grants stay of execution for serial killer

BONNE TERRE, Mo. - The state of Missouri executed convicted killer Joseph Franklin early Wednesday after his requests for a stay were ultimately denied. The execution followed a series of legal maneuvers that happened overnight Tuesday into Wednesday.

Shortly before 6 a.m. the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for Franklin, who had been scheduled to be executed at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Franklin was put to death about 45 minutes later.

Franklin's attorneys had asked the high court to step in after a federal appeals court lifted a stay of execution a judge had issued earlier.

That stay was granted by U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey Tuesday afternoon, who said challenges to the state's lethal injection protocol must be resolved before Franklin's execution moves forward. 

Laughrey said the state had instituted a protocol that uses pentobarbital produced from "an unknown source and of unknown composition prepared under unregulated conditions."

The state appealed that ruling to the federal Court of Appeals in St. Louis. The appeals court lifted the stay around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Franklin was scheduled to die just after midnight Wednesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre. There is no word on when the execution will take place.

Franklin was sentenced to death for one of eight murders for which he was convicted. He has also admitted to shooting and wounding Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt, who was left paralyzed by the attack.

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