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Serial killer, shooter of porn mogul Larry Flynt gets stay of execution

AFP-JIJI

A U.S. 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, U.S. media reported.

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

But U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey in 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.”

“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,” Laughrey wrote.

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.

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

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, 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.