Ronnie Lee Gardner, a death row prisoner was shot dead by Utah firing squad in the early hours of Friday. This is reported to be the first firing execution of Utah in the span of 14 years.
Ronnie Lee Gardner (picture)
It was Ronnie Lee Gardner himself, who choose the controversial firing squad option over lethal injection method adopted by Utah in the year 2004.
Gardner was shot on his chest by certified police officers, who volunteered for the task. He was declared dead at 12:20 a.m.
Members of Gardner’s family held a vigil outside the prison as he was shot. Some described it as a barbaric act.
Ronnie Lee Gardner was sentenced to death for gunning down an attorney in a failed escape attempt from a courtroom in 1985 during a murder trial.
Ronnie Lee Gardner was the third man to be killed by state marksmen since 1976. The other two were Gary Gilmore, who was shot on January 17, 1977; and John Albert Taylor on January 26, 1996.