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Death Penalty Opponents Hold Vigil For Joseph Paul Franklin Downtown

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Ahead of the scheduled execution of white supremacist and serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, a group of about a dozen people held a candlelight vigil outside St. Francis Xavier Church in downtown St. Louis Tuesday night.

They started by reading the names of Franklin’s victims and then said a short prayer for Franklin, his family, and the victims of his crimes.

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Director Margaret Phillips says there are several reasons executions shouldn’t occur in the state.

“The state has been so secretive about so much of its protocol, that’s ominous. The chemicals being used come from a compounding pharmacy which has its own problems,” she said.

After the vigil, Phillips and the other protesters drove to Bonne Terre to hold another vigil outside the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center where Franklin was scheduled to be killed.

Phillips says that if Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, one of Franklin’s victims, could forgive him, the state should as well. Flynt has been paralyzed from the waist down since the attack in 1978 but said recently that he doesn’t believe Franklin should be executed.

“A state that tells its citizens not to kill has no business killing,” Phillips said.

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty also cite Franklin’s schizophrenia as a reason he should not be put to death.

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