Missouri's been having a hard time deciding how to kill people.
When the European Union caught Missouri using their drug to execute death-row prisoners, the continent threw a fit, threatening to withhold a widely used pain medication from the U.S. Officials delayed scheduled executions and went hunting for a new drug, finally landing on penobarbital, which means dealing with barely regulated, sketchy pharmacies protected by law from being named in public.
The first to face the new drug is Joseph Franklin, sentenced to death for killing 42-year-old Gerald Gordon in a 1977 sniper attack outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue. Franklin will be executed at midnight Wednesday morning (Tuesday night).
Governor Jay Nixon denied clemency to Franklin Monday afternoon, calling his crimes "merciless acts of violence, fueled by hate."
Hustler magazine's Larry Flynt, who is paralyzed because one of Franklin's bullets went through his spine, has asked repeatedly to stop his would-be killer's execution because of the secrecy surrounding the execution process.
"Until the death penalty is abolished, the public has a right to know the details about how the state plans to execute people on its behalf," Flynt says.
Polls show public support for capital punishment has reached an all-time low, especially as the secrecy and confusion over execution drugs and protocols increase.
That's why -- and hang in there with us for a minute -- Missouri should consider the guillotine, the decapitation machine that grew to fame in 1790s France -- instead of an untested drug cocktail for tonight's execution.
Read our five reasons after the jump.
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