SALT LAKE CITY -- In a death row interview, Missouri inmate and white supremacist, Joseph Paul Franklin, was asked about his scheduled execution.
“I’m hoping to get a stay and have my sentence commuted to life without parole,” Franklin said. “That’s what I’m shooting for now.”
Franklin got his wish Tuesday, when a federal judge ordered a stay hours before his execution over concerns about the drug used by Missouri to carry out the death sentence.
Franklin has admitted killing more than 20 people in a killing spree that ranged across the country from 1977 to 1980, including the murders of two black men in Salt Lake City.
On August 20, 1980, Franklin shot and killed 18-year-old David Martin and 20-year-old Ted Fields at Liberty Park because they were jogging with two white women.
Robert Stott was the lead prosecutor at Franklin’s 1981 trail.
“That’s just a horrible thing to think that that justifies shooting two young men with a high power rifle,” Stott said.
Stott said he asked a Salt Lake County jury for the death penalty after Franklin was found guilty, but failed to get the required unanimous vote.
Asked Tuesday about the stay in Franklin’s Missouri execution, Stott said, “Well, it’s just another stay. In these kinds of cases it’s stay after stay, and that’s something you have to live through in the judicial system.”
Stott said he experienced closure 30 years ago when Franklin was convicted of murder. But he knows many others are waiting for the execution.
“Hopefully that’s closure for a lot of other people because there’s victims out there, family members of victims out there, who would like to see some final justice,” Stott said.
The Utah Department of Corrections says there are currently nine men on death row. The state uses a three-drug protocol, including an anesthetic, a paralytic and an electrolyte that stops the heart.