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Donald Gene Franklin - Texas Execution - November 3, 1988
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Thread: Donald Gene Franklin - Texas Execution - November 3, 1988

  1. #1
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    Donald Gene Franklin - Texas Execution - November 3, 1988

    Summary of Offense: Franklin received the death penalty for the 1975 slaying of Mary Margaret "Peggy" Moran, 27, stabbed seven times and left nude in a field. Her disappearance touched off a highly publicized search, and an elderly couple found her five days later, still alive. However, she died the next day.

    Victim: Mary Margaret Moran

    Time of Death: 12:30 a.m.

    Manner of execution: Lethal Injection

    Last Meal: Hamburger, french fries and catsup

    Final Statement: Declined to make a last statement.

  2. #2
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    November 3, 1988

    Franklin executed for 1975 murder

    HUNTSVILLE - Donald Gene Franklin, whose case stalled virtually all executions in Texas for the past year, was executed today for the 1975 abduction, rape and fatal stabbing of a San Antonio nurse.

    The 36-year-old former carpenter became the 28th person to die in Texas since the state resumed executions in 1982 and the second this year.

    The lethal injection was administered at 12:24 a.m., and Franklin was pronounced dead six minutes later. He made no final statement and stared continuously at the ceiling, his eyes never closing.

    Attorney General Jim Mattox said he did not attempt to talk to Franklin because the latter indicated he did not want any last-minute visitors.

    "He was resolved to his fate evidently," Mattox said. "It is difficult to look at an individual and realize the terrible crime he committed. If he had cooperated with authorities, he would not have met his fate."

    Franklin received the death penalty for the slaying of Mary Margaret "Peggy" Moran, 27, stabbed seven times and left nude in a field. Her disappearance touched off a highly publicized search, and an elderly couple found her five days later, still alive. However, she died the next day.

    Once described by a defense attorney as the most hated man in San Antonio, Franklin's lengthy appeals gained him notoriety last year when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear his argument that the death penalty statute is unconstitutional.

    But the court voted 6-3 in June to reject his argument that juries should be instructed in how to weigh mitigating circumstances - facts that might lead them to assess life sentences in capital offenses.

    The Supreme Court rejected Franklin's latest round of appeals about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, with Justices Thurgood Marshall and William J. Brennan Jr. dissenting.

    Gov. William P. Clements on Wednesday also denied the request of Franklin's attorneys for clemency, and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied a request for a commutation.

    Arturo D. Aranda, 40, is scheduled to die next Wednesday for the 1976 murder of an undercover drug agent in Laredo, but Mattox said Wednesday night the next likely execution will be that of Raymond Landry of Houston, whose date is expected to be set for Dec. 13.

    Franklin spent his final day in a small holding cell outside the execution chamber at the Huntsville "Walls" Unit. He visited with his parents, James and Jenola Franklin of San Antonio, for about 45 minutes late in the afternoon. He also visited with the Rev. Roosevelt Sands of the Church of Christ in San Antonio.

    He ordered a final meal of two hamburgers, fries and ketchup but ate only the meat patties, said Texas Department of Corrections spokesman Charles Brown.

    Franklin had three trials and three death sentences and at least five execution dates for murdering Moran. He was on parole from TDC for the 1969 rape of a Bexar County woman when he abducted Moran outside the Audie Murphy Veterans Hospital as she left work shortly after midnight on July 25, 1975.

    Franklin was arrested at his apartment a few hours later, after witnesses reported seeing him flee the abduction scene.

    Authorities found a pair of bloody pants soaking in his apartment and several of Moran's personal items.

    Franklin was first convicted in 1976 by a Corpus Christi jury. But that conviction was overturned because prosecutors erred when they told jurors that Franklin refused to talk with police.

    His second conviction was returned by a San Antonio jury in 1980, but it was overturned because the trial judge's charge to the jury omitted reference to Franklin's "culpable mental state."

    His third trial took place in 1982 in Brownsville.


  3. #3
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    Woman has `feeling of relief' after execution of daughter's killer

    Patricia Crawford went to her daughter's grave in Kentucky Thursday morning to tell her she hoped she somehow knew her killer had finally been executed.

    Donald Gene Franklin, 37, was executed before dawn Thursday at the Texas Department of Corrections "Walls" Unit in Huntsville for the July 1975 rape-slaying of Mary Margaret "Peggy" Moran, a 27-year-old San Antonio nurse.

    "I talked to her and her father and said I hoped they knew it was over," Patricia Crawford, a Fort Thomas, Ky., homemaker said. "I told her I knew what a horrible thing she had been through."

    Moran's father, William, died two years ago of cancer, but Crawford said the stress of following the lengthy appeals of his daughter's killer contributed to his illness. They moved from San Antonio to Kentucky to escape the almost daily reminders of the ordeal.

    Franklin maintained the same silence in the end as he did more than 13 years ago when he refused to tell authorities where he had left Moran, whose disappearance touched off a highly publicized citywide search.

    He was arrested several hours after her abduction but she was not found until five days later. Authorities have maintained that if he had told them where he left her, she probably would not have died.

    Franklin left her in a vacant lot less than a mile from where she was abducted. She was alive when an elderly couple found her, but died the next day in a hospital from seven stab wounds.

    Franklin was pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m., six minutes after officials administered the lethal injection.

    "I have a great feeling of relief," Crawford said. "I feel a lot of tension went out. I hope this will be a turning point in the way I can cope with this."

    Franklin was the second Texas killer to be executed this year and the 28th to die since the state resumed executions in 1982.

    Attorney General Jim Mattox, who witnessed Franklin's execution, said the former cabinetmaker "was resolved to his fate."

    Franklin's case had stalled all but one execution in the past year while the U.S. Supreme Court heard his challenge to the constitutionality of Texas capital sentencing law.

    Mattox said the state has two more legal roadblocks to clear before executions resume on a regular basis, but in the meantime he expects courts to begin imposing sanctions on defense attorneys who wait until the last minute to file their clients' appeals.

    Those roadblocks - cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court - involve questions on the constitutionality of killing murderers who are mentally retarded and those who were younger than 18 when they committed their crimes.

    Mattox said he does not foresee a halt to executions until the high court rules in those cases.

    The only execution that Mattox said he expects to be carried out in Texas in the next two months is that of Raymond Landry, 38, convicted of capital murder in the robbery and shooting death of Kosmas Prittis, a Houston restaurant operator.

    The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week chastised Franklin's attorneys for waiting until 10 days before his execution date to file the latest round of appeals and said it would begin to sanction attorneys who wait until the last minute to file appeals.

    "This is not a game we're playing," Mattox said. "This is a matter that is resolved by the rules of law, and the court is setting down the rules that the court wants attorneys to abide by."

    Scott Howe, an attorney with the Capital Punishment Clinic at the University of Texas Law School, denied that the clinic has encouraged defense attorneys to wait until the 11th hour to file appeals, as some prosecutors have contended.

    Howe said the last-minute pleadings reflect too many killers on death row and too few attorneys willing to handle their cases.

    "In those circumstances, resources and efforts don't become concentrated until an execution date is set," Howe said. "The idea that lawyers are sitting around with papers in hand waiting till the last minute as a strategic maneuver is simply not the case."

    He said he fear's the court's threat to impose sanctions against attorneys "would have a chilling effect on attorneys' willingness to become involved" in death sentence appeals.

    Franklin's 13-year battle to get his sentence overturned was the most litigated case of any death row inmate in recent history, some experts believe. And his appeals brought a halt to all but one execution for the past year while the Supreme Court heard his challenge to the Texas capital sentencing law.

    One of the cases pending before the high court is that of Johnny Paul Penry, who has challenged the legality of killing mentally retarded capital offenders and also has raised questions about whether Texas law allows juries to consider such evidence as retardation as a mitigating factor when deciding the fate of a capital murderer. His issues about mitigating factors are similar to the challenges Franklin raised in his case in March.

    The issue of executing those who were 17 or younger when they committed murder is being raised in two Georgia and one Missouri case and would affect only a few Texas inmates, Howe said.

    In Texas, a person under 17 is considered a juvenile, but can be certified to stand trial as an adult. However, Texas does not allow execution in such cases.


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