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. TC

    What does the comment from JG have to do with the exection of this guy by a firing squad? Did I miss something?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Red Panda

    Hey buddy, why don't you get off of your soap box and comment on the right article.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Professor Puncherton

    Apparently JG is a racist who likes to comment about stories that have nothing to do with illegal immigration. Good on ya, JerkGutz!

    April 23, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mikw

    J G how does your dumb rant have anything to do with this article?

    Im all for criminals going out like this. The punishment is far more fitting for the crime.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ethrutch

    A firing squad... are you KIDDING me?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Super

    I can't find anything about the girlfriend that passed this guy the gun he used to kill the attorney. Was she charged?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mike

    @ J G, are you slow? or republican, I guess one in the same. The above artical has nothing to do with "Obahaaaamamamama" as you you are crying about. Yeah death by firing squad, fantastic. a Troll on Cnn.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joseph Gardner

    I am originally from England though recently came to live in the US. To me this is utterly ridiculous and unnecessary. I think a person's opinion of capital punishment are founded in what they believe the true purpose of the justice system should be, My personal opinion is that it should be about rehabilitation and prevention rather than punishment. To execute a man after committing a crime 25 years ago serves no purpose to the community except reducing the cost of another mouth to feed. Therefore it seems this case is all about punishment and revenge and not about taking a making this man see the error of his ways in the hopes that he wont do something similar again.

    After 25 years and a crime that seems clearly to have been a result of a tense situation surely there is no real threat that, if he were released, he would do this again?

    It just makes me very sad that a man has to die as a result of his chances for appeal being exhausted rather than taking each case in it's own merit. Is this man a threat? I very much doubt it. The why should he die?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bexter

    J G

    What in the world do illegal immigrants have to do with death by firing squad??? Let's try to keep on topic please.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. New Yorker

    Pop him in the head and then bill his family for the bullet the way the Chinese do.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. KRS

    JG: You know...YOUR rhetoric might actually get some footing if you posted it in the right place. Stupid Republicans...

    April 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joyce

    J G, what in the world does this story about a guy being executed have to do with Obama???????

    April 23, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. professor X

    give me liberty or give me death

    April 23, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. awe stuck

    JG what in the blue moon does that have to do with this article?

    April 23, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. C D

    Good, bullets are cheap.

    J G, what does that have to do with this story?
    Stick to the subject and post your Obama rants where they belong.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
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