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. NewJ

    This guy been on death row since 1985 and his Lawyer (lowest form of life) is going to file for an appeal. Our tax dollars have been feeding this guy for a long time. If the guy wants to died by firing squad let's hurry up for him.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. khudgens

    I don't know if I would call him a man for doing that to an 11 year old girl. More an animal, I would say!

    April 23, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kimberly

    I think that's cool, every state should have the option to go out like that.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Johnny Five

    That's cool. People should be allowed to be executed how they want. Hanging, shooting, stoning.

    Who knows what goes on inside the body with those drugs they shoot in these days. THe first shot inhibits body movement, the second eats the organs. There is no way to know if someone is under extreme pain when the second is administered because the first makes it look all peaceful and heavenly.

    I'd personally like a warriors death.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. KG

    JG What the heck are you talking about? This is an article about execution you moron! I don't think anyone should pick how they are going to be excuted. I think they should die inthe same manner that they kill!

    April 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pete

    There are so many rhetorical scientific evidence out there on humans but no direct evidence exist. I think people like him would've been good to experiment new drugs or have them exposed to harmful chemicals to see what happens to them. Once the experiments are over, they can be sent to Shutter Island or an isolated island to live out their days.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff S

    Wow, this is quite a story! I didn't expect to read that someone was actually CHOOSING the firing squad.

    Oh, and J G, your comment has absolutely nothing to do with this article, but since you posted it, it makes me wonder why you're such an opponent of the Constitution of the United States of America. I bet the Republicans in Arizona own stock in a checkpoint building company or something. Nobody really wants to have to present their drivers license and SS card to prove their citizenship and be constantly harassed by mentally unstable police day in and day out.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bob

    J G, wrong article.

    As for, Gardner, stick it to Utah!

    April 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. zagool

    We paid for his room and boarding, food and medical for the last 25 years and we also gave him the menu on how he wants to die. Lets take this monster out. He is too spoiled.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Harold Trainer, USAF RET

    When are we ever going to learn that the death penalty is wrong and is state sanctioned murder. Sentence them to death by natural causes and let them remain in a sterile prison environment for the rest of their natural lives.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gheezy

    how did you turn an article about the death penalty in to immigration?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. HVW

    This method of execution is BARBARIC to say the least but that is only my opinion. However, I have to agree with JG.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. PS

    Ummm, JG, how does this story relate to Obama?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SpeicalK

    Rape and murder of an 11 year old girl....I hope he rots in Hell.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mark

    Let's go back to the firing squads. I think we should also have "beheadings" for sex offenders...the little head, not the big one. A miniature guillotine would do the trick.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
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