Franklin had a particular dislike for interracial couples. In addition to the killings in Wisconsin, he was convicted of shooting a black man and a white woman in Chattanooga in 1978. The man died and the woman was paralyzed. He reportedly killed a couple in Oklahoma City in 1979, and another couple in Johnstown, Pa., in 1980. He confessed to killing a 15-year-old prostitute because the girl had black customers.
Other victims were more random. He was convicted of killing two black cousins, ages 13 and 14, in 1980 in Cincinnati, shooting from a highway overpass as the boys walked to a convenience store. He reportedly killed three female hitchhikers — one in Wisconsin, two in West Virginia.
In Salt Lake City in August 1980, Franklin hid in a field and shot and killed two young men about to go jogging with two teenage white girls.
Franklin was caught for good about two months later in Florida.
Herndon said no one really knows how many crimes Franklin has committed.
"A lot of times he claims responsibility for stuff that there's no evidence or proof of," Herndon said. "I suspect he didn't kill as many people as he's confessed to killing, but there's no way to know for sure."
Franklin also confessed to shooting Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt.
In March 1978, Flynt was in Lawrenceville, Ga., on trial on an obscenity charge. Franklin, enraged by a Hustler photo of an interracial couple, staked out a spot in an abandoned building near the Gwinnett County Courthouse, fired a shot that left Flynt paralyzed from the waist down. Amid the chaos of the shooting, Franklin got away.
Franklin was in federal prison in Marion, Ill., in 1994 when he confessed. Gwinnett County, Ga., District Attorney Danny Porter is convinced Franklin was the shooter.
"He's very specific about the weapon. He describes the caliber and manufacturer of the gun," Porter said. "He talks about certain structural details of the building that are consistent with where the shots came from. There's no reason not to believe he did it."
But by then, with Franklin imprisoned on multiple murder counts, Porter decided not to file charges.
Ironically, Flynt has become one of the most vocal opponents of executing Franklin. Flynt, 71, told The Associated Press that while he hasn't forgiven Franklin, he doesn't think capital punishment is the answer.
"I've got to think about this guy every day, every day that I get in this wheelchair. It would be easy for me to say, 'Yeah, kill him, he shouldn't be on the Earth.' " Flynt said. "But if you analyze that decision, it'll always come up short."