Missouri Fifth in the Nation in Executions

Related Story

COLUMBIA - The planned execution of Joesph Paul Franklin on Wednesday morning will mark the 69th execution Missouri has carried out, a total that makes Missouri one of the top states when it comes to the death penalty.

Missouri's 69 executions is fifth in the nation since 1976, behind Texas (507 executions), Virginia (110 executions), Oklahoma (106 executions), and Florida (81 executions). Death penalty researcher and advocate for the abolishment of the death penalty Jeff Stack said even though Missouri is near the top of the list, it is slowly falling.

"For quite a while Missouri was ranked number three in the nation," Stack said.  

Stack said the frequency of executions have dropped significantly in the last ten years.

"Looking at '89 to 2005, for instance there were an average of six executions every year, but since 2006 there's been one execution on average every three and a half years," Stack said.  

Stack said it isn't just the number of executions dropping, but political opposition is falling as well. In the last five years, lawmakers have introduced ten bills that would abolish the death penalty in Missouri. Currently 18 states and the District of Columbia do not have the death penalty.

"Years ago it was very difficult to find a single legislator willing to sponsor a bill to repeal the death penalty," Stack said.

Of the ten bills introduced in the last ten years, none of them have made it past a second reading in the house or out of committee in the Senate.

Stack said he believes Missouri will eventually abolish the death penalty, but noted old habits die hard.

KOMU 8 contacted Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and several lawmakers, they refused to comment on the death penalty or the execution of Franklin.