Posts tagged: Ronnie Lee Gardner
DRAPER, Utah (AP) — A Utah killer set to be executed by firing squad next week said Thursday he is remorseful and wants a state parole board to spare his life so he can help troubled kids avoid the kind of problems that landed him on death row.
Ronnie Lee Gardner, who chose a firing squad instead of lethal injection, told the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole he and his brother are trying to develop 160 acres in northern Utah for an organic farm and residential program for children. He said he’s earned about $1,300 selling prison artwork and crafts — handmade baby booties and handkerchiefs — to start the project. He even tried to enlist Oprah Winfrey in the cause two years ago.
Gardner, 49, said he had been working quietly on his idea for the “Back to Basics” program for about 10 years. He said he is a changed person and wants to help prevent kids from traveling down a path to violence and criminal activity.
“I think I’m the perfect example of what you shouldn’t do,” Gardner said, testifying for about two hours as part of his effort to persuade the board to reduce his sentence for murder to life in prison.
Read the reset of the Associated Press story by clicking the link below.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah is set to execute a convicted killer by firing squad after a judge agreed Friday to the inmate’s request for the method, renewing a debate over what critics see as an antiquated, Old West-style of justice.
Ronnie Lee Gardner, 49, (right, with his lawyer, Andrew Parnes) was given the choice of being killed by lethal injection or shot by a five-man team of executioners firing from a set of matched rifles, a rarely used relic that harkens back to Utah’s territorial history.
“I would like the firing squad, please,” Gardner told State court Judge Robin Reese Friday morning, after Reese told him his avenues for appeal appear to be exhausted.
Gardner, 49, was sentenced to death for killing an attorney 25 years ago during a failed escape attempt and shootout.
Of the 35 states with the death penalty on the books, Utah is the only one to use the firing squad as a method of execution since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976.
Two men have died in a hail of bullets since that decision: Gary Gilmore, on Jan. 17, 1977 — after famously uttering the last words, “Let’s do it” — and John Albert Taylor on Jan. 26, 1996.
Read the rest of the Associated Press story by clicking the link below.