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. JonathanPDX

    Why should Utah be embarrassed for using a firing squad? At least they give someone the option. It's amazing how murderers are fine taking the lives of others, often in grotesquely horrible ways, but want it to be all gentle and painless when it's their turn to go.

    If they want something quick, use the melt in a steel mill.

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

    I think everyone involved should be shot for dragging this crap out for 25 years.

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

    if the monster want i volunteer for the firing squad!!!!!

    April 23, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JasonLee

    They can outsource the job to NRA.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BZ

    And your comment has what to do with this article? I am so sick and tired of these radical people associating every possible topic with politics. Next they are going to say that Obama had something to do with the volcano erupting! Grow up!

    April 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Stacia

    Obama was mentroned in this article??? Guess I missed that...

    April 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Angry John

    Sweet!!! Blam! Blam! BLAMMO!!!

    April 23, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    Stoning in Saudi Arabia..... Firing Squad in the US. Sounds like both are getting the easier way out. Being locked up in a cell for the remainder of their natural life would be far more punishing.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ray Whitener

    So what your telling me, is that a man convicted of a felony 25 years ago, who has received shelter, three meals a day, clothing, bedding, and all of the other essential to life materials, is now going to die? How about instead make him a poster model for what all the unemployed and homeless don't have in this country to date, and then spend the money that is going to be used in his highly publicized execution to feed a thousand homeless or unemployed in the state. He can rot in prison, the residents of Utah have already paid for his casket.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    J G What are you commenting on? You're not commenting the story above???

    April 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. IrassJ

    J G! W does that have to do with this article!? Oh, I see – you just needed another place to whine – I am sure you are one to moan and groan about Obama everywhere you go, right?? Maybe you should have run for president, since you could do SUCH a great job!!

    HernandeUSA – I agree with you.

    April 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Aarrgghh

    Hey JG.
    What does this story have to do with any of that? can you stick to the subject at hand please? Thanks. Oh and by the way, unless you are a native American, your ancestors also came here as "illegal immigrants"
    Rickky Ritardo

    April 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Carmen Jones

    Yep...take it like a man. And JG what in the hell does that have to do with this story??? Seriously???

    April 23, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Meyer C Dhoates

    Good for him. Now Utah needs to carry out the sentence as soon as possible.

    April 23, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Stella

    I want to attend this execution.

    April 23, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
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