Joseph Paul Franklin, already serving four life sentences for the August, 1980, murders of two black joggers in Salt Lake City, was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury for the ambush shooting of Vernon E. Jordan, former president of the National Urban League, two years ago in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Franklin, 32, an admitted racist and former member of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party, has also been charged, or is a suspect in, a number of other shootings and killings of blacks and a number of bank robberies.
William Bradford Reynolds, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said the indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in South Bend, Ind., charges that Franklin fired his rifle at Jordan, depriving him of his civil rights. The civil rights charge applies under federal jurisdiction; murder and attempted murder are state-level charges.
Franklin, a drifter who often raised money by selling his blood in his travels across the country, is serving time in maximum security at the federal prison in Marion, Ill. He faces a maximum penalty of an additional 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted in the Jordan shooting.
Jordan was shot in the back May 29, 1980, outside the Fort Wayne Marriott Inn as he emerged from a car driven by a white woman who was a member of the Fort Wayne Urban League's board of directors. He was returning from speaking at the city's annual Urban League dinner.
Jordan spent several weeks in hospitals in Fort Wayne and New York recovering from the shooting. He resigned from his leadership position with the Urban League about a year ago to join a Washington law firm.
The Salt Lake City joggers, David Martin, 18, and Ted Fields, 20, were shot to death Aug. 20, 1980, in a city park while they were jogging with two white women.
Franklin, a native of Mobile, Ala., insisted during that trial that he was innocent of the killings but that the two blacks deserved to die for "race mixing."
In March, 1981, Franklin was charged with the racially motivated slayings of a black man and his white wife in Oklahoma City and of two young black men in Indianapolis. Indianapolis authorities dropped the charges, however, after Franklin was sentenced to multiple life sentences in Utah.
Indiana, Utah and Oklahoma all allow the death penalty for murder convictions. Indiana officials have not said whether they will bring charges against Franklin in the Jordan case.
Franklin has also been investigated in connection with the murders of a 22-year-old black man and a 16-year-old white girl as they walked across a bridge in Johnstown, Pa., in June, 1980; the killings a week earlier in Cincinnati of two black teen-agers, and the killing of another black man in Doraville, Ga., in 1979. But Franklin has not been charged in any of those cases.
Franklin was arrested by the FBI at a blood bank in Lakeland, Fla., in October, 1980. Agents had circulated his picture to area blood banks because he was suspected of threatening the life of President Carter, who was scheduled to visit the area three days later.
FBI agents said at that time that they would question him about a wave of killings of 22 blacks across the country in the previous 15-month period. FBI Director William H. Webster also said following Franklin's arrest that he believed the wave of racial killings was over.