Monday, the Utah Department of Corrections released details about how Ronnie Lee Gardner will be executed by firing squad. The execution will take place at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah. Gardner has been on death row for 25 years and has exhausted all of his appeals. He is scheduled for execution on June 18, 2010.
Ronnie Lee Gardner will be allowed to have five witnesses at the execution. His last meal will be prepared by cooks at the prison.
Five law enforcement officials chosen by the Utah Department of Corrections will use .30 caliber rifles and four of them will have live rounds.
Gardner, 49, will be secured in a chair with a hood over his head, and a target over his heart. After his final words, the five man firing squad will fire.
Gardner requested the firing squad which is an option over lethal injection in the state of Utah and Judge Robin Reese granted his wish.
Gardner shot and killed attorney Michael Burdell during a failed escape attempt downtown at the old Salt Lake City courthouse, and was sentenced to death in 1985.
Last week, Gardner’s defense lawyers asked for an extension while they appeal. They plan to argue that state money was denied to Gardner for “experts and investigators to provide mitigating evidence during the penalty phase of his 1985 trial for the Salt Lake City courthouse slaying of a lawyer during a failed escape attempt,” the Associated Press reported.
Two men have died in Utah by firing squad since the 1976 when the Supreme Court brought back capital punishment. In 1977, Gary Gilmore spoke these famous last words, “Let’s do it” and John Albert Taylor in 1996.
According to the Associated Press, “Gardner is one of at least four of 10 men on Utah’s death row who have said they want to die by firing squad”.
To see a video about how lethal injection works, click here.
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Sources: CBS News and the Associated Press
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