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. Charlie


    Your right that execution is organized murder, but what would you have us do, continue to feed, cloth, and house deadly criminals for the rest or their lives. What fear would any have to do what they wanted? I know if I was poor and homeless then I would think about taking someone’s life, if I knew the only penalty I would have is to be feed three times a day and sleep in a bed. Those of you that think execution is wrong, then I am sorry that you don’t understand the whole thing about an eye for an eye. It is sole fear based if you knew that you would lose a hand for stealing or your life for killing then you have to be very ballzey to actually do it. I 100% agree with capitol punishment, especially for those that taking another’s life, commit rape, or try and do those two things.

    April 24, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. dan

    Gardner was convicted of murder in the 1985 killing

    April 24, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. Timothy

    All those still on Death Row should have the Firing Squad and be put on TV and done in public. Most murderers are executed guietly and the citizens are not even aware of the event only as a blog in the news. A public execution will show consequences of their acts.

    April 24, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. Robert G


    The legal system (right or wrong) is in place for reasons. Please do some research on the subject at hand and read why we have the appeals in place.

    April 24, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. ChrisH

    You people need to learn to read, this man did not kill an 11 year old girl, he killed an attorney during a court house escape. The last person to be executed in Utah by firing squad is the one that killed the 11 year old girl. Also, I say off with his head.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. Amber

    I see the taxpayers getting JUSTICE and the family getting JUSTICE. It doesn't matter how he goes, just let him exit this earth, be judged by his maker and save this country the food, housing and HEALTHCARE this individual (monster) does not deserve. This man does not deserve sympathy or attention to further his sycophant cause. Take his stage away and that of the lawyers.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. katiedid

    I hope he suffers like he made his victims suffer..

    April 24, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. chicago1963

    This is no "man". This is a waste of everybody else's time. He grins because he thinks he's more intelligent than all others. That is what a sociapath thinks. Choosing the firing squad is supposed to embarass the government? What an idiot!
    Aim right in his smug face.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. S. Durham

    In this Country it costs on average $84.00 a day to keep someone on death row. I wish I were being able to spend $84.00 a day on myself! From the time of sentencing to the time of execution is 15-20 years. This costs the tax payers of this Country too much money. The process needs to be shorter. They should have a expedited appeal process. Of course the whole prison system in this Country needs a major overhaul.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jim Banner

    To be far, the victims family should be allowed to choose the method. Another word for a killer is "coward".

    April 24, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. MG

    He should have been executed decades ago.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. Morgan

    Is there a state that still allows you to be stoned to death? I wanna move there

    April 24, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. Bucky

    Why waste four extra bullets when it could be done with one!

    April 24, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. FLO

    i dont care how they kill him . the only problem i see is they wasted taxpayer money on him for so long .

    April 24, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Stush

    Pay per view and give the proceeds to charity.

    April 24, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
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