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Killer's daughter angry over how execution went down

Published November 20, 2013 7:42 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Joseph Paul Franklin's death early Wednesday came as a shock to his oldest sister Carolyn Sheffield and his daughter, Lori Gresham.

Sheffield said she received a telephone call from "Jimmy," as she calls her brother, about 4:20 a.m. MST. He sounded "chipper," she said. "He sounded like he was in a good mood."

He told his sister only that he was in a room near the execution chamber.

"I don't think he was afraid to die because he had accepted the Lord," Sheffield said. "He was sorry for everything he'd done."

She said her brother had a tendency to "exaggerate" and she does not believe he committed all the crimes he claimed.

"I just want you to relate a message to [Missouri] Gov. [Jay] Nixon," Sheffield, her voice choked with emotion. "Who does he think he is? God has control over life. I don't believe in the death penalty, but he should not have done that after my brother stayed in prison 33 years. The son of a b——, that Nixon is. ... he knew better."

Gresham, 34, received a call after the execution from her father's attorneys.

The daughter of Frankin's second wife and a resident of Alabama, she said she was "really mad about how they went about [the execution]." She was sleeping when she got a call Wednesday about 6:30 a.m. telling her he had been executed.

"I did get to say goodbye to him," she said. "I told him I loved him and he told me he loved me. I'm sorry for the families of the victims if they didn't get a chance to do that to their loved ones. I send them my condolences. I'm sorry my dad did all of this. I apologize for my dad and I'm sorry he caused so much hurt and pain in their families. He caused a lot in mine, too."

Franklin was briefly maried twice. Gresham, his only child, was born during the middle years of his killing spree.