June 14th, 2010
11:46 AM ET

Utah denies clemency for man set to die by firing squad

Moving a Utah death row inmate one step closer to his scheduled execution by firing squad early Friday, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole on Monday refused to commute his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole, a board spokesman said.

Read the ruling (PDF)

The board held a two-day commutation hearing for Ronnie Lee Gardner at the Utah State Prison on Thursday and Friday. During that hearing, Gardner and defense attorney Andrew Parnes argued he is a changed man who regrets killing two men in two separate escape attempts in 1984 and 1985. But Assistant Attorney General Thomas Brunker pointed to Gardner's "long history of relentless violence."

Gardner, 49, is set to die just after midnight Friday for the death of attorney Michael Burdell during an escape attempt at a courthouse in Salt Lake City.

More than two decades after he killed two men in separate escape attempts,  Gardner swears he is a changed man with a dream to help keep teens from making the mistakes he did.

But, in arguments Friday before the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Brunker suggested he had a more selfish motive.

"This sounds to me like somebody who wants to save his life," Brunker said.

KSTU: Man will die by firing squad

Post by:
Filed under: Justice
soundoff (429 Responses)
  1. DSolomon

    GO UTAH!!

    June 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gary

    In 1998 it cost 103,000.00 per person on deathrow. How much has this guy cost us?

    June 14, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sandy247

    First off, he killed someone in an escape attempt. Do you not think he will try again if it will get him out of prison. This man was given plenty of chances. There is no dispute of his guilt. He keeps killing people. Sometimes killing a killer is the only way to stop him.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Markie

    I am amazed and dismayed by the amount of blood-lust in so many of these posts. While I do not disagree with the sentence and that the state will carry it out, it is not cause for celebration. Rather it is cause for great sadness that society finds executions to be necessary and reasonable.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      Your such a puss, I wonder if you would feel this way if the folks he killed were in your family

      June 14, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    Can they televise this execution...Now that's one way to educate children..

    June 14, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gail

      why in the world did this guy choose the firing squad anyway?

      June 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The Punisher

    What's happening to this man isn't revenge. Revenge isn't a valid motive, it's an emotional response. No its not revenge, its punishment.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    Sure, he's a changed man. He's had 25 years to change.
    Why in the world does it take 25 YEARS to execute someone who is so obviously guilty???

    June 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Elle

    I think the crime fits the punishment through and through; but regardless of my opinion on that, I don't understand why everyone is up in arms about the fact its going to be carried out by firing squad? HE CHOSE THIS MANNER! Do your research; it was his choice; so if you really care about the law and its regulations, then don't criticize him for making a legally sound decision.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Anonymous

    Hey y'all. Who would Jesus execute? If I remember correctly what I learned as a child in the Southern Baptist church–Jesus advocated for mercy, love, and forgiveness. And, in case you've forgotten, Jesus died for this guy, too.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scoot

      Who cares? The Easter Bunny votes to smoke his ass.

      June 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drunk Monkey

      Oh.... Please stop with this. You are under the assumption the whole world believes what you do. You want to be a good christian, go to the maximum security prison and volunteer to counsel those people locked up forever. They will have to remain shackled of course because they don't care about your Jesus. And will probably kill you when you don't agree to smuggle some drugs into the prison for them in your bible.

      June 14, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • derek

      im guessin ur black?

      June 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Why on earth would this comment cause you to assume I'm Black, Derek? I'm white as can be...

      June 15, 2010 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. davec

    Riddle me this: Do you want to give the government the power to kill you? I sure do not.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scoot

      If you kill people??? Absolutely. In fact, we can give you the gun and you can DIY.

      June 14, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      No, I definitely do not. A few years ago, I attended a banquet where they invited 17 men who were exonerated from death row to speak about their cases. SEVENTEEN PEOPLE who were innocent and who would have been executed, had someone not bothered to take their cases pro bono or whatnot and get to the bottom of things. Scary.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mansell

    The cost of killing him with four bullets is way cheaper than Keeping him locked up for 20 years. Think abou it people!!! A person commits a crime, goes to trial, if the death penalty is chosen by the jury then take the guilty outback take a .75cent slug and put it through his skull and walk away.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ross

    Shootem up boys. I just wish I was one of the lucky guys that gets to pull the trigger. Oh by the way I worked in corrections for 20 years and on death row for 5 of the 20.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. davec

    You murdering fiends make me so mad I just wanna kill you!

    June 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Debbi

    Is this event going to be televised? Would love to watch the show!!!

    June 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Scoot

    Hey, c'mon folks! If we just start a donation program to cover the costs of labor/techs & medical/bullets/etc., we'll all save more tax dollars that could go elsewhere... plus it becomes a fun-filled and satisfying "Interactive execution process" for the whole general public to get into! Now everyone could "take a part" of this well-deserved justice.

    June 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14