In the movie “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” an epilogue notes that the sniper who shot Flynt and his lawyer in 1978, during Flynt’s pornography trial in Georgia, has not been brought to justice.
That is true, but, in fairness, justice has had its hands full.
Joseph Paul Franklin has been indicted in the attack, and law-enforcement officials say he has confessed to the shooting, but he is already serving life sentences for four murders and may soon pay the ultimate penalty for a fifth.
Those killings were among 15 attacks that he has admitted or is suspected of carrying out between 1977 and 1980 because of his hatred of blacks and Jews.
Last month, Franklin, 46, was convicted of murdering a man outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977. He asked jurors to recommend that he get the death penalty. They did, and a judge is expected to sentence him to death Feb. 27.
Daniel J. Porter, the district attorney in Gwinnett County, Ga., where Flynt was shot, said residents were upset the movie says Franklin was never brought to justice.
“We know who he is and where he is,” Porter said, “but we were sort of the last on the list in jurisdictions in terms of seriousness. He’s been punished. Why add another notch to the stick?”
In a recent jailhouse interview here, Franklin said meditating on the Bible had led him to have a change of heart about his murderous fanaticism.
“I was totally immersed in Nazi philosophy at the time, and I was obsessed with race-mixing,” said Franklin, a drifter who once belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party.
He said he had shot Flynt after becoming incensed by seeing a picture in Hustler magazine, which Flynt publishes, of a white woman and a black man having sex.
“I figured the whole magazine would fold once I got rid of Flynt,” Franklin said.
“I have nothing in my heart but love for Larry now,” said Franklin, a tall, slender man with dyed red hair and a goatee.
Franklin said he no longer hates blacks and Jews and thinks that he may have been a Jew in a former lifetime.
Franklin has been in jail since he was arrested in 1980 in the fatal shootings that year of two black men who were jogging with two white women in Salt Lake City. He was given two life sentences.
In 1982, Franklin was acquitted of shooting Vernon Jordan, the head of the National Urban League and now a powerful Washington lawyer, in 1980. He later admitted the shooting.
In 1984, he was convicted of bombing a synagogue in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1977 and in 1986; he was convicted in the murders of an interracial couple in Madison, Wis., in 1977. He received two life sentences for the murders. The bombing conviction was overturned.
He is suspected in the slayings of 10 people in Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
Franklin is in jail here, awaiting sentencing in the murder of Gerald Gordon, 42, who was shot and killed outside a Richmond Heights, Mo., synagogue after a bar mitzvah on Oct. 8, 1977.
Franklin told the police that he had planned the shootings so that he could kill as many Jews as possible.
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