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. HernandeUSA

    I see a criminal that wants to go out like man for his crimes.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DB

    The death penalty is wrong. Period. Make any excuse you like, but it is nothing more than
    organized murder.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pearl0808

      I'm honestly torn on the subject. Part of me says "an eye for an eye", and if it was someone that I loved who was murdered by this person, my first reaction would be to want him/her to die. Also the taxpayers have to pay for his food, shelter, medical care, and provisions for the rest of his life. However, I do see that two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, and the fact that murder is wrong, no matter how you look at it. So, I guess there are two sides to every argument.

      June 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • conor McCartney

      couldn't you also say that putting someone in prison is just organized kidnapping then?

      July 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. New Mexico

    If he were a man he wouldn't have commited the crime.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. danny boy

    I see a criminal who wants attention

    April 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tim

    "I see a criminal that wants to go out like man for his crimes."

    --------–

    Then by all means, he should be denied that. Did his victims get a choice about how they would die?

    April 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. goingfast

    IF HE IS guilty, let's do him now, why feed him anymore?

    April 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jay

    He shot and killed two different people on two different occasions. He doesn't deserve to die but if he did it shouldn't be by firing squad, he should be hung.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BrickellPrincess

    "Taylor said he chose the method to embarrass Utah" Ha! If anything, I praise Utah. I hope Taylor feels each and every bullet ripping him to shreds inside. I would give anything to be on that firing squad...anything!

    April 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      actually if read the article correctly the first time, you'd notice Taylor was executed in 1996. He's probably not feeling much of anything right now.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jendfly

    I see a sick coward getting his just rewards.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Me

    Wow, great choice honestly. That should save the state plenty of money. I wish more states had this as an option. It honestly costs much less than the other methods and much cheaper than keeping them in jail for 350 years.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. law abiding citizen

    here here. I concur. He's taking the proper punishment for his crime. More crinimals should be faced with firing squad, maybe then people would think twice before committing their heinous crimes against humanity.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mark

    Rape & Murder of an 11 yo girl?

    Aim low guys!

    April 23, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kevin Moore

    I wonder if because of his choice that someone is setting the stage for a "cruel and unusual punishment" argument, which could possible stay the execution until a series of courts examine the issue.

    That said, if the execution is to take place as scheduled, then by all means, let him die by firing squad. It has often been said that "Justice delayed is justice denied."

    April 23, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Isabel

    Good job! Finally saving taxpayer money for something more important instead of spending all that money on lethal injections. This is the way it should be done all the time but I know it's inhumane and the shooters can be traumatized...blah, blah, blah.

    April 23, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. john l

    They should air it prime time to show if you comit this crime it could be you agianst the wall!

    April 23, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
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