AFRICANGLOBE – The angry life of serial killer and White supremacist Joseph Paul Franklin ended quietly with his execution Wednesday morning in Missouri.
Franklin, 63, targeted Blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980. He was executed at the state prison in Bonne Terre for killing Gerald Gordon in a sniper shooting outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977.
Franklin was convicted of seven other murders and claimed responsibility for about a dozen more. His fate was sealed early Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal appeals court decision overturning stays granted Tuesday.
Franklin also has admitted to shooting and wounding civil rights leader Vernon Jordan and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who has been paralyzed from the waist down since the attack in 1978.
The execution ended the wait for justice for the loved ones of his victims, including the family of two Black boys killed in Cincinnati in June 1980. Abbie Evans says Franklin tore her family apart with the murders of her son, 13-year-old Dante Evans Brown, and his cousin, 14-year-old Darrell Lane.
For 33 years, Dante Brown’s mother, a Walnut Hills resident now known as Abbie Evans Clark, and her family have waited for justice, for the sickness in their souls to heal, for some finality.
“I hate him for destroying my life, for taking away something precious to me, a life that I brought into this world,” said Clark, 68, a home health aide.
She was at a 1980 graduation party when she was told Darrell had been killed and Dante seriously wounded. She raced to the hospital to see her middle child struggling for life.
“They were working on him when I got there. I thought, ‘Who would do this to him?’ ” Clark said. “They said he was in bad shape and I fell in the hallway.”
Dante and Darrell had been shot by Franklin with a deer rifle.
Days later, at Darrell’s funeral, she got another call: Get to the hospital if you want to see your son alive again.
“I went in and seen all of the tubes. He was trying to say something. I just put my finger to my mouth,” she said.
“It’s devastating. It’s a void. You never get over it.”
Lavon Evans, Dante’s brother, remembers little of Dante’s ordeal but lives daily with the loss of his big brother. The 39-year-old still walks under the Bond Hill railroad trestle where Franklin murdered the two, hoping to connect with them.
“I walk through there to see if I can feel their pain,” he said. “It’s terrible. It hurts.”
The killings remained unsolved for 18 years until Hamilton County prosecutors persuaded Franklin to confess. He was convicted of two counts of murder and given two life sentences after a 1998 trial.
Dante’s mom and brother are bitter. Clark even wanted to press the button to send the lethal cocktail of chemicals through Franklin’s veins.
“Maybe God will forgive (Franklin), but right now I can’t,” Clark said. “They say you should forgive but at this time, I should pray on that because I don’t feel that way.
“I didn’t know if we’d see the day come, if it would happen or not,” she said. “After 33 years … it’s past time. It won’t bring (Dante) back but it lets you know that justice will be done for the senseless murders of two innocent boys.”
By: Kimball Perry