Racist killer executed by injection

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Frank Spisak, seen here in court in 1983, has been executed in the US over a shooting spree that targeted black, gay and Jewish people

A former neo-Nazi who shot dead two men and a teenager more than a quarter century ago in a shooting spree that targeted black people has been executed.

Frank Spisak, who chose to read Bible verses in German for a final statement, was pronounced dead shortly after 10:30 am following an injection of sodium thiopental at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.

Spisak, 59, set the Ohio record for the longest time on death row before execution, at more than 27 years. He was also the last inmate in the Midwestern state to die by sodium thiopental, the scarce drug the state is giving up in favour of a more readily available substitute.

Spisak blamed the 1982 shootings on his hatred of gays, blacks and Jews and on his mental illness related to confusion about his sexual identity.

He identified himself as a woman and referred to himself in correspondence as Frances Spisak, a name his lawyers also used.

Spisak read the first seven Bible verses from chapter seven of the book of Revelations from a hand-written yellow paper held over his head by a prison official, speaking in a halting voice and sometimes having trouble reading the verses: “I can’t read it, it’s too blurry, I can’t read it,” he said at one point.

“Heil Herr,” he appeared to say when he was finished. It was unclear what he meant, as the phrase is not used in German.

His struggles with the German drew giggles from witnesses, who included the daughter of one victim, two brothers of another and John Hardaway, a surviving shooting victim.

“Speak English, you fool,” said Jeffrey Duke, the brother of victim Brian Warford.

A few minutes earlier, Duke said injection was too easy and Spisak should have been hooked up to some kind of generator. “That’s what he needs. A person like that, going around killing people just because he doesn’t like the colour of their skin or their religion,” Duke said. “I’m sorry, that’s just how I feel.”

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