Criminal Justice

Serial killer who may have slain 22 people compares himself to Jesus, hopes for execution stay

Joseph Paul Franklin says he thinks differently now, after 30 years in prison, than he did when he killed “approximately” 22 people in an effort to start a race war.

He says he’s repented, no longer holds racist views and doesn’t expect to see any hell fires burning after he’s executed on Wednesday, if his date with death isn’t delayed. Comparing himself to Jesus Christ, he notes that both were engaged on a “mission” at around the same age, CNN reports. He also felt as if he was a U.S. soldier serving in Vietnam.

“I felt like I was at war. The survival of the white race was at stake,” he says.

Franklin doesn’t seem particularly sorry about his victims, though he admits regretting having shot to death two cousins, 13 and 14, who were walking together down a road in Cincinnati, CNN reports. And he appreciates that Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, left paralyzed after admittedly being shot by Franklin outside a Georgia courthouse in 1978, is working to try to get his execution delayed. (Flynt tells CNN he’s working on behalf of a principle, not Franklin, and believes it is greater punishment to remain in prison for life. Franklin says he targeted Flynt because of an interracial photo spread in the men’s magazine he publishes.)

The murder that put Franklin on death row in Missouri, awaiting execution, involved Gerald Gordon, a father shot to death in front of his family as they left a bar mitzvah in the St. Louis area in 1977.

In a particularly bizarre statement, Franklin imples that killing people based on their race, their ethnicity or their religious views creates a place for him in the human community.

“When you commit a crime against a certain group of people, a bonding takes place. It seems like you belong to them,” he tells CNN.

See also: “Larry Flynt joins with ACLU to fight execution of serial killer who shot and paralyzed him”

Salt Lake Tribune: “Heartache lingers for serial killer’s Utah victims and their families “

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