Thursday, June 17, 2010

Death Row Inmate Awaits the Firing Squad

Utah death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner, 49,  faces the firing squad early Friday morning.  A stay of execution was denied Tuesday in Denver by the federal appeals court and Utah's Governor Gary Herbert denied the stay of execution as well on Thursday. 

Gandner choose death by firing squad before Utah banned such an act in 2004.  He will be only the third person to be put to death by firing squad in 33 years. 

He was convicted for the shooting death of attorney Michael Burdell in 1985 when he tried to escape from custody at a Salt Lake City courthouse where he was facing another murder charge that occurred in 1984. 

Gardner has been on death row for 25 years for the murders.  When convicted the jury advised the judge that he should not be released from prison. 

The execution will take place at the Utah State Prison in Draper, a suburb of Salt Lake City. reports, The firing squad will consist of 5 marksmenl using matching .30-caliber rifles, will stand behind a wall cut with five gunports. One of the rifles will be an "ineffective" round, similar to a blank, which delivers the same recoil as a live round. That ensures none of the riflemen will know who delivered the fatal shot.
The marksmen fire from a distance of 25 feet. The inmate is blindfolded, strapped to a chair and a target pinned to his chest

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