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. MJB

    J G-
    What does your comment have to do with this report of a man choosing a firing squad for his execution?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Aaron

    Hey JG don't know if you noticed but this is not about Obama. So do us all a big favor and get off your soap box.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. M

    LOL, wrong article J G

    April 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. thatguy

    J G – what the hell are talking about? did you read the article?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BofWisconsin

    It's sad to see such an archaic mains of execution used in the USA. I'm ashamed.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    Too bad it took nearly 20+ years to put a couple bullets into this guy. Should have happened after a year of paying for his incarceration.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. P S

    I'm so tired of nonesensical conservative rhetoric. Instead of focusing on the article to which they've attached their comments, they get up on their soapboxes to whine politics to curry favor with the millions of crybaby loses and the coward community.

    Let's focus on provding a country for all of its citizens, not for nitwit modern-day Nazis who know less about history than they do about any modern political issues.

    Now, to the topic at hand, I actually think it's a good idea to let the prisoner choose his own method of execution, as this prevents him/her from wasting a lot of time and money on appeals over whether the method itself is cruel and unusual.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Everyone who is sick of the Obama bashing!!

    This has nothing to do with politics. Please take your Obama bashing elsewhere!!!

    April 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. FS

    Nice. Glad to see a bad guy accepting his fate... and appropriate one.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bmorechick

    J G, what in the hell does that have to do with this article?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rmr797

    I don't get it – how is this about Obama and illegals? Did I miss a paragraph? Any way, I think people who are sentenced to die shouldn't have any choices about anything

    April 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JL

    What the h3ll does that have to do with a man getting executed?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jer

    Hey J G, I agree, but you're comment might be more appropriate for the immigration story and not this one.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pat

    Sweet!

    April 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Drito

    J G, why don't you stick to the topic at hand, this isn't your soapbox.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
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