Killer says he was 'flat-out crazy' in racist spree that killed 21

Oct. 27, 2013 at 3:14 PM
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JACKSON, Miss., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A serial killer scheduled to be executed in Mississippi says he was "flat-out mentally ill" during a four-year rampage inspired by racial hatred.

Joseph Paul Franklin, who killed at least 21 people between 1977 and his arrest in 1980, is slated to die Nov. 20, The (Jackson, Miss.,) Clarion-Ledger reported Sunday.

"I had a hatred toward blacks bordering on insanity," said Franklin, 63. "I was flat-out mentally ill.

In an interview on death row, Franklin described a childhood of abuse that led him to read Adolf Hitler's' biography "hundreds of times" and to become active in the American Nazi Party. In 1977, he saw sex between a white woman and a black man depicted in a copy of Hustler magazine. He started stalking the publisher, Larry Flynt, with the intention of killing him.

That idea kicked off Franklin's campaign to get rid of "enemies of the white race." He bombed synagogues, shot interracial couples, paralyzed Flynt with a shot from a sniper's rifle and wounded civil rights leader Vernon Jordan.

Franklin says he ended his racial hatred after interacting with African-Americans in jail in 1996. "For some reason, he [God] made us different colors," Franklin now believes.

He now has "a lot of respect" for Jordan and regrets shooting Flynt, who has ironically become an advocate to halt Franklin's execution.

"I have every reason to be overjoyed with this decision, but I am not," Flynt wrote in The Hollywood Reporter. "I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself."

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