Friday, April 23, 2010

Death by firing squad. No, really!

Utah is set to execute a man by firing squad.

Utah is scheduled to execute a convicted killer by firing squad on June 18 after a judge signed a warrant for his execution.

State court Judge Robin Reese signed the warrant Friday morning in a Salt Lake City courtroom.

Ronnie Lee Gardner has been on Utah's death row for 25 years. After Reese said Gardner's avenues for appeal are exhausted and that he would sign the warrant, Gardner said "I would like the firing squad, please."

The 49-year-old Gardner would be the first death row inmate executed in Utah since Joseph Mitchell Parsons died by lethal injection in 1999.

Gardner was sentenced to death in 1985 for the Salt Lake City courthouse slaying of attorney Michael Burdell during a failed escape attempt.

Gardner's attorney says an appeal is planned.

Believe it or not, I was aware that Utah still had the firing squad on the books. Personally, I think it's a good idea. It'll sure as hell be cheaper than lethal injection even with the rising cost of ammo. Too bad it won't be common in the future. According to Wikipedia:

A law passed on March 15, 2004, banned execution by firing squad in Utah, but since that specific law was not retroactive,[22] four inmates (one, Roberto Arguelles died of natural causes on death row, leaving only three) on Utah's death row could still have their last requests granted.

As to the appeal, I'm wondering what it will be if all avenues of appeal have already been exhausted? Probably a cruel and unusual appeal, if I had to guess. I would think this would be merit-less as the condemned requested the firing squad.

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