Larry Flynt: Don’t execute man who shot me

Flynt has been in a wheelchair since the attempted assassination in 1978
Flynt has been in a wheelchair since the attempted assassination in 1978

(BBC) Porn publisher Larry Flynt has said he does not want the man who put him in a wheelchair to face the death penalty.

Joseph Paul Franklin, who shot Flynt outside a Georgia court in 1978, is set for execution in Missouri in November.

“I have every reason to be overjoyed with this decision, but I am not,” he wrote in the Hollywood Reporter.

“I would love an hour in a room with him… so I could inflict the same damage on him that he inflicted on me. But, I do not want to… see him die.”

White supremacist Franklin, who is being executed for killing Gerald Gordon outside a synagogue in 1977, has been convicted of a total of eight racially motivated murders across the US between 1977 and 1980.

He confessed to, or was implicated in, 13 additional racial murders.

No deterrent

Franklin said he targeted Flynt after the publisher featured a black man and white woman in a photoshoot in Hustler, the magazine that formed the cornerstone of his adult entertainment business.

“He hated blacks, he hated Jews, he hated all minorities,” Flynt wrote.

The entertainment mogul, who suffered permanent spinal cord damage, was left paralysed from the waist down after the shooting.

The events were dramatised in the 1996 film The People vs Larry Flynt, starring Woody Harrelson and Courtney Love.

“As far as the severity of punishment is concerned, to me, a life spent in a 3-by-6-foot cell is far harsher than the quick release of a lethal injection,” wrote Flynt, 70, in a guest column this week.

The publisher, who has never met Franklin face-to-face, says he does not believe the death penalty is a deterrent.

“I have had many years in this wheelchair to think about this very topic,” he wrote.

“As I see it, the sole motivating factor behind the death penalty is vengeance, not justice, and I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself.”

In a statement in August, Missouri attorney general Chris Koster said by setting an execution date of 20 November, the court had taken “an important step to see that justice is finally done for the victims and their families”.

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