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. Bush Whacked

    There were approximately 24, 000 homicides in the United States the year Gardner committed his crime. Did all of those murderers receive a death sentence? No. When all those who have committed a capital crime also received the same sentence then I would agree the death penalty would be acceptable.

    Presently the rules allowing capital punishment are merely window dressing exercises based on revenge, political expediency and crackpot realism!

    Posted by: Bush Whacked

    April 23, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. guy

    The only thing that I can think of is how can I get in on being one of the shooters.

    April 23, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bill

    I was in the courthouse when Gardner committed the murder. He also shot a bailiff. I moved from Utah over 20 years ago and still tell people about that day. What shocks me is that he has waited around for 25 years for the execution. I don't particularly agree with the death penalty, but if you are going to use it, then it should be more timely than that.

    April 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dee Allen

    Why does he get to choose anything??????????

    April 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jb

    It took 25 years to execute him cause..duh...he killed his attorney..lol

    April 23, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Solomon

    Saving us money. Great idea. I hope it catches on.

    April 23, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Skiking226

    I'd love to shoot him for his crimes. How cool firing squad. We should bring back public hangings, if they are guilty let them hang!

    April 23, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 5aucey1

    Death by firing squad?..God Bless

    April 23, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. brains

    life with no release

    April 23, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Flex

    Utah is as backwards as Arizona! I fly over twisted republican states! They don't have anything to offer!

    April 23, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JJ

    Whatever he did, at least he chose to GO OUT LIKE A MAN!

    April 23, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kevin

    Why would we give a killer a choice. Just put the guy in a whole a move on!

    April 23, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. SD

    its sad that this country is still bhaving like world warI era

    April 23, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bugy

    He does not deserve firing squad.... enough said.

    April 23, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ryan

    Good. Serves him right.

    April 23, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
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