When I read the headline on CNN.com that a man was executed by firing squad toay, I naturally assumed that the execution took place in a foreign country. I was wrong.
According to CNN, the Utah Dept. of Corrections reports that convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by firing squad early this morning. Firing squad? I'm all for capital punishment for ruthless murderers, but how barbaric is that? They don't play in Utah! I'm guessing the crime rate is real low there.
Gardner is the third man killed by firing squad in Utah since capital punishment was reinstated there in 1976.
Gardner was convicted and sentenced to death for gunning down an attorney during a botched escape attempt from a courthouse in 1985. Someone slipped Gardner the gun prior to his court appearance where he was on trial for murdering a man in 1984.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert rejected Gardner's appeals for a commutation of his sentence to life. And the Supreme court sealed his fate by rejecting a stay of execution on Thursday.
Here are the gruesome details of the execution:
A hood was placed over Gardner's head and a paper target pinned to his chest. He was heavily restrained as a five-person firing squad took aim at the target and shot him, witnesses said.
Journalists who witnessed the shooting said it happend quickly. One reporter said she noticed that Gardner moved after he was shot.
"It was over pretty quickly," said Cheryl Worsley, a local radio reporter. "It was cleaner than I expected. It was fast. But he moved. He moved a little bit, and to some degree that bothers me."
I bet rapper Lil Boosie is glad he didn't commit his crimes in Utah. Yesterday, a Louisiana Grand Jury indicted Lil Boosie, real name Torrence Hatch, on a murder charge in connection with the Oct. 21 shooting death of Terry Boyd.