April 23rd, 2010
03:35 PM ET

Utah man chooses firing squad for execution

A Utah judge signed a death warrant Friday allowing the state to execute Ronnie Lee Gardner using a five-man firing squad, a spokeswoman for the Utah's state court system told CNN.

Before signing the death warrant, Third District Judge Robin Reese asked Gardner if he wanted to be executed by the method he had chosen previously, spokeswoman Nancy Volmer said.

"I would like the firing squad, please," Gardner replied.

It would be the state's first use of the firing squad since 1996, when John Albert Taylor was executed for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. Taylor said he chose the method to embarrass Utah, which at the time was the only state that offered the firing squad as an option.

Gardner's execution date was set for June 18, 2010. However, Gardner's lawyer said he planned to file an appeal, which could change the date, Volmer said. Gardner was convicted of murder in the 1985 killing of an attorney during a courthouse escape attempt.

A change in Utah's law took the firing squad away as an execution option. But inmates, like Gardner, who have already chosen the firing squad can still be executed that way, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Oklahoma offers the firing squad as an option - but only if lethal injection and electrocution are later found to be unconstitutional, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

The country's most famous execution by firing squad was when Gary Gilmore was killed using a firing squad in 1977. Asked for any last words before guns were fired, Gilmore replied: "Let's do it!"

His execution was also the inspiration for Norman Mailer's book "The Executioner's Song."

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Filed under: Justice • U.S.
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Pbjunkie

    To all those that are whining about the death penalty, SHUT UP! You kill someone, only fair that you get killed back. You'd be singing a different tune if he had killed your son, daughter, father, mother, anyone in your immediate family. Not to mention how long it actually takes for the actual execution to take place. Guys sitting on death row for 20 plus years muching off our damn tax money.

    April 28, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TJ

    I am SOOOO tired of hearing people whine about execution being wrong. I think there should be one everyday. Also I think they should be aired on the nightly news. For all those people who think it is murder to execute a convicted criminal, keep quite and pay attention to what is happening in the REAL WORLD. Abviously you live in a fairy tale land where all can be forgiven. Furthermore I think the firing squad is a great idea. Next we should hang a few of them then have a party.

    April 29, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alex

    Drop him off in Ciudad Juarez Mexico and spead the word and see what happens to him while there. Lets see if we can cound the bullet holes in him... Make swiss cheese out of him....

    May 7, 2010 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Elliot Russell

    we bought some exercise equipment from a local supplier and most of them are made in china. i do not know if those exercise equipment would last long.`*:

    May 12, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. frank from florida

    Why don't you people comprehend what you read? The guy who wanted to embarrass the state HAS already been executed!

    June 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Pro Execution

    I'm completely sick of these people who honestly believe the death penalty is wrong. Why should someone who took someones life in any manner be allowed to keep there own. It's absurd. The only thing I'd change is however the victim was killed is how the murderer should be killed. An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind, but I'd rather live in a blind world than a world thats so worried about human rights that the feel it's nessisary to give the condemned an alcohol swab before they stick the poison needle in they're arm. These people gave up their right to be treated like a human being the day they took the life of another, so in my eyes if they suffer a little bit before we take them off this earth, then maybe we just gave them that much more understanding into why we're 'returning defective merchandise back to the manufacture'...

    June 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sam selk

    i know these crimes he commited were a long time ago...but to pose for a picture with a smirk on your face shows the face of a true moron theirs nothing manly or dignified about his choice of demise he has been giving a gift to be kept alive for as long as he has, to the point of almost defeating the very purpose for which hes being put to death its almost insult to injury that are criminals are kept in the peak of medical health at tax payers expense in order to simply put this person to death its a travesty that future generations will be able to look back upon with disdain and pity for a society that could be so naive and inept in the choices they make be they wrong or right the inability to follow through and stand by there final decision speaks volumes about our way of life

    June 10, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bring back town square hangings

    To bad those who protest such acts have forgotten through their desires for world peace, People are Animals, and some just need to be put to death for the good of others.
    The needs of many outweighs the need of one.
    Bring back town square hangings and you would see alot of crime stats drop like crazy.

    June 14, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. 4 New Murderers will enter the world..

    It's hard for me to fathom the ignorance and lack of soul of those who have volunteered to be become murderers. Those of the firing squad, four of you will become murders. Killing another human is wrong, no matter what the reason. (unless in self defense) To you who support this, many of you call yourselves Christians & Mormons, what is wrong with you? Have you never listened? You act tough here, but in your hearts, you know this is wrong. Your support makes you no less guilty than the murderer himself. NO, this is not about compassion or pity. I have no compassion for this man or any other criminal. NO, I do not believe those who commit capitol crimes should live a comfortable life, burdening the tax payers. Murderers should be required live out the remainder of their life as a Slave to the State and offered no individual rights or medical care. A life of hard labor, forced to work in mines, farms or factories, cleaning up oil, or medical experimentation. Enough work to compensate for their own upkeep. If he refuses to work, he doesn't get fed. If he gets sick, don't treat him. (unless he's profitable) Any profits after his own upkeep should be given the victims family.

    June 17, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. L.L Godden

    the Death Penalty Protects Society-Ted Bundy was Convicted of Murdering girls in Colorado& Was Given LIFE WITHOUT The POSSIBILITY of PAROLE Sounds Good RIGHT? NO_=Because He ESCAPED & Came down to Florida Where He KILLED 4 More Girls Finally= Fla Executed HIM & Now Society is Safe From Him=THINK ABOUT THIS+-IF ONLY Colorado Had EXECUTED HIM ==All 4 Innocent Girls in Fla would Be ALIVE Today-But Now their Families Are SHATTERED Simply Because of a Bunch Bleeding Heart Liberals in Colorado and ALL Those "Death Penalty Opponents= OK Now=Please Explain Your Liberal Politics to THOSE 4 INNOCENT GIRL'S FAMILIES

    February 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christian

      That's not a liberal ideology, that's conservative. It was obviously part of Gods plan that those 4 girls died. Jesus said that we should forgive people for their sins, and let God deal with their punishments. So if you're actually a Christian or Mormon, you should be angry with Florida for subverting Gods will, not Colorado for being proper Christians themselves.

      February 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
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