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June 17, 2010

Inmate set to die by firing squad asks Supreme Court for stay of execution

Posted: 08:55 AM ET

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a story we're keeping an eye on today – and we're interested in hearing from you.  Do you think the Supreme Court should grant a last-minute stay of execution?

Washington (CNN) - A Utah death row inmate who would become only the third person to die by firing squad in the United States in 33 years appealed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, seeking a last-minute stay of execution.

Ronnie Lee Gardner's lawyers filed the first of what are expected to be several appeals to the justices. He is scheduled to be put to death early Friday for the shooting death of attorney Michael Burdell during a botched escape attempt from custody in 1985 at a Salt Lake City, Utah, courthouse.

Among the claims the 49-year-old prisoner raises in his appeals is that he has been a death row inmate too long.

"He asserts that executing him now, after nearly 25 years on death row in Utah, so lacks retributive or deterrent value that it violates the Eighth Amendment," Andrew Parnes, Gardner's lawyer, told the high court. He did not return phone calls from CNN seeking comment.

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Filed under: Justice • Supreme Court


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Milt Farar   June 17th, 2010 9:46 am ET

Ronnie Lee Gardner was 24 years old in 1985 when he killed a bar keeper and then an attorney who was trying to help him. Now 25 years later he is trying to avoid death of any kind but death is where he belongs.


Ed Haney   June 17th, 2010 9:49 am ET

From what I have seen of this story Mr Gardner has shown no remorse for the crimes he has commited only self centered concern for him self.
And I think this form of execution will be a deterrent contrary to his layers statement. I think the real crime is that he has lived on death row using up good air for 25 years. Shoot Him get it over with.
I think hanging and shooting would make a difference in the out of control crime in this country and a speedy trial and execution would help the budget by millions every year. Just a thought


John Blackburn   June 17th, 2010 10:36 am ET

Mr. Gardner should not receive a stay of execution . The law is clear . He committed a crime for which the penalty is death . The penalty should be carried out immediately .

The Eighth Amendment argument is ludicrous . Execution by firing squad is neither cruel nor unusual punishment nor is the fact that it has taken 33 years for the sentence to be carried out . The Amendment was created primarily to prevent torturing someone to death . It was not meant to apply to the sudden death by execution of someone lawfully convicted for the commission of a capital offense . There are few forms of execution more sudden than death by firing squad . Because of this , the Eighth Amendment argument does not apply .


Emma Davidson   June 17th, 2010 10:41 am ET

No way !
It shouldn't matter how long he has been on Death row, that is irelevant in my opinion.
If anything he should be grateful he has been allowed to live so long, as his victim was given no choice.

The method is appropriate, same way his victim died, only slightly more merciful as at least he'll know it'll be a certain & instant death.


Jade   June 17th, 2010 10:45 am ET

First of all – the firing squad does not shoot many bullets for the person who put that. there are a certain number of guards lined up and only one has a real bullet – that is so none know who did the actual shot that killed. These are trained individuals to make sure their shot is a kill shot.

Personally if you do not like the way our laws are written – go live somewhere else. The laws are put into place to keep people from breaking them and if they are broken then if the death penalty fits the crime then shoot the person and be done with it. Our prisons our full of individuals that are taking my money – your money and for what – just so they can get out and kill or rape or do whatever crime they did again and again.

Grow up people...We are a humane society – WE HAVE LAWS – you break them – you pay. That is that.


Janice   June 17th, 2010 10:49 am ET

shoot him! Should have done it 20 years ago! What we need is a time limit on appeals for death row cases. Sorry, but he has already cost the taxpayers too much money!


Chase   June 17th, 2010 10:50 am ET

You're correct Revelation. Let's not do firing squad. Let's do it like he did it. One gun kills him; however long it takes for him to die.


Brenda Hill   June 17th, 2010 10:57 am ET

If this world would go back and start doing things in a more timely and direct manner crime might go down alittle. Maybe I am a little old fashion for this day and time. But if a man or woman is accused and found to be guilty without a doubt and remanded to prison to be put to death, then do. Stop all the appeals and long drawn processes and get it over with. I know all the arguments for DNA results later finding people innocent. But when you know someone has killed another person DNA is not going to make a bit of difference. I have said for a long time if this country would go back to public hangings crime would go down. But this is just my opinion and just like every other citizen in the world, I am entitled to it.


Eric C   June 17th, 2010 11:01 am ET

@Jade, according to a local Utah news story;

"The 49-year-old convicted killer will be executed by a team of five anonymous marksmen firing with a matched set of .30-caliber rifles...The guns are handed out randomly to the officers. One will be loaded with a blank, so no one will know who fired the fatal shot."

It doesn't mention that only one rifle is live??


Jade   June 17th, 2010 11:24 am ET

Eric – yes that is correct only one of the five has a live round – meaning a bullet – the other 4 have blanks. That is how a firing squad is done.


Eric C   June 17th, 2010 12:01 pm ET

@Jade, you're incorrect. 4 of the 5 rifles have "a bullet". Not "one of the five".


Bill Long   June 17th, 2010 12:20 pm ET

Execute him by shooting.No delay. Lets finally get the job done and move on. Quit wasting tax payer money.


Frank   June 17th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

I'm always surprised that America, the country that claims to be the most christian in the world, still routinely executes criminals. the means are irrelevant as they are all barbaric. I live in Europe. we did away with this kind of brutality decades ago.

It would appear christian Americans prefer an eye for an eye to forgive those who trespass against us.

If America thinks executions are a good thing why don't you televise them. Or are you too ashamed so you hide it from public and world view.

At least those brutish regimes in the middle east make sure everyone gets to see what there up to.


thechrischick   June 17th, 2010 1:02 pm ET

Think of the 11-year-old girl who was brutally raped and murdered by this savage who still enjoyed the last 25 years on earth.

PUT IT ON TELEVISION to let the other savages running around think twice.


Danny   June 17th, 2010 2:33 pm ET

This scumbag should have been executed along time ago instead of costing taxpayers money to keep him breathing he doesn't deserve to live


Candace   June 17th, 2010 5:08 pm ET

There are some very passionate people in this room eager to televise death. I hope no one wants to shoot me for having a different outlook. I wonder if anyone in history has been put to death for having a different perspective? hmm...

I personally do not agree with Capital Punishment in any instance. I believe people can change and should have the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, the way the prison system is set-up now, the idea of rehabilitation is a farce. People enter as petty thieves and if they leave, they leave as hardcore killers.

It is cruel to have a person waiting for execution for years. I understand that many of these people have been convicted of horrific crimes (this guy is no exception) however, I do believe the best punishment is a small cell, no freedom and no choice. All prisoners have are their thoughts; and no matter what anyone says, how they got there will inevitably cross their minds. That's the point – remorse.

A grandmother was told that her teenaged grandson (whom she raised on her own) was beaten, tied to the back of a pickup truck and dragged down a dirt road in the south until his limbs came off. In the courtroom during sentencing, one of the men broke down crying – distraught, shamed and eyes lowered – could only utter the words, "Sorry" repeatedly. The grandmother reached over and hugged him for several minutes. I’ll never forget that moment as long as I live.

Now...I don't know what it feels like to have anyone close to me murdered. My heart goes out to that little girl’s family, but vengeance does nothing but mark your soul, while forgiveness sets you free. Do NOT waste a bullet on this clown! Let him THINK about what he has done for the rest of his natural life. Let God take him away.


Jack   June 17th, 2010 6:44 pm ET

This guy is a true animal.


Lurose   June 17th, 2010 9:14 pm ET

I am sure this convict has had many years and chances for the officials to commute his sentence. They did not. His time has come.

Let the world continue and clean up BP now.


Joel fazzio   June 17th, 2010 9:45 pm ET

Kill the murderer!
His victim had no chance.


Gaboy   June 17th, 2010 9:47 pm ET

He should die for what he did. Or just turn him over to the family who lost there family member.


Maria   June 17th, 2010 10:13 pm ET

This is most definitely a contentious and hotly debated issue, has been since time immemorial.

It appears to me that by taking this family's beautiful daughter, he has usurped God's authority; whose authority, and His alone it is to give and take life.

Morally, ethically, and religiously, I side with Catholic Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, who writes "...the death penalty diminishes all of us, increases disrespect for human life, and offers the tragic illusion that we can teach that killing is wrong by killing."

I, for one, know that my arms are far too short to box with one of my Holy Father in Rome's Cardinals.


Chris   June 17th, 2010 10:16 pm ET

Life with no hope of parole is a more brutal punishment. Living in prison with no hope of ever leaving equals punishment everyday all the days remaining in the prisoners life. This is why some condemned prefer death. It actually costs more to execute a prisoner than life due to endless appeals. And the appeals are going to keep up, to think anything else is not facing reality. Killing a man because he killed only causes a second wrong.


Teri Browning   June 17th, 2010 10:17 pm ET

No one on this earth has the RIGHT to take anothers life- Ronnie didn't have the right.....why should our justice system have the right? They don't.....it's just legalized murder.......punish him for his crimes by prison....not death.


Wanda B   June 18th, 2010 12:55 am ET

Why in the world do we even have the death penalty ? We don't use it when we give it out. Lord yes PROTECT THE CRIMINAL ! They have more rights than you and I do out here on the outside. I hope I live long enough to see Scott Peterson put to death. Wonder how long I'll have to wait for that to happen ???


eric   June 18th, 2010 7:00 am ET

Fry baby fry


ted bishop   June 18th, 2010 7:19 am ET

yes i think the man should be put to death we got to send a strong message to those who dose those things this is whats wrong with the world today [ to many wrist slaps ]


Rosa Bogar   June 18th, 2010 1:06 pm ET

Mr.Larry King you must read all the the TRUTHS I have been sending you I am the only Rosa Bogar in the USA. Tomorrow is Juneteenth I plan to celebrate You must read all the info. I posted.On June20th a plaque will be presented to honor the colored workers of Hotel Eutaw ithe Jim Crow Era of the south.This plaque is also in the spirit of Juneteenth. Read how Fort Sumter oin Charleston was the beginning of Juneteenth. I would love to be a guest on your show. I have lots of Truth that need to be Told! Rosa Bogar p.o.box2415,Mpls.MN55402


Hugh T. Herbert   July 27th, 2010 5:59 pm ET

I never cease to be amazed at the gross hypocrisy of Americans...this is the same country that didn't bat an eye when blacks were being lynched for looking at a White woman...when Black women and children were beaten,burned and abused,and let us not be swayed, a Black President does not mean that those abuses dont exist today .But here is a hardened vicious criminal who has NEVER contributed anything positive to society, in fact he has contributed to more heartache and sorrow and death...than most people in their whole lifetime, and now when he has to pay the ultimate price for his heinous deeds, suddenly he wants to be pardoned and there are people who would love to see him walk free.......I say FRY THE SOB...and stop wasting time with him....Enough is Enough...send his ass packing let St. Peter try to do something with him....


Rosa Bogar   August 3rd, 2010 1:19 pm ET

I am in pursuit to see some recognition given to the many blacks who migrated to New York during the Jim Crow era. Their contributions hepl to make the City of New York the great City it is today. Much need to be realized about this aspect of our country"s history


Rosa Bogar   August 10th, 2010 7:45 pm ET

IMy project :Ancestral Wrap"enhances hisrtory and culture.it is aimed at the younger generations of African Americans. All cultures can utilize this porject..The project has been praised by Dr. Henry Louis Gates and Congressman Charles B. Rangel.They both would to see the project on a national level. Thanks, rosa Bogar


Rosa Bogar   August 20th, 2010 1:24 pm ET

I My expression to the tragedy in my hometown of Orangeburg, South carolina"God,s Heavenly Garden" for JaVan T. and Devean C. Duley "God,s Heavenly Garden" You bolssom into our world. But, never reaching full bloom.Your beauty taken away Far far too soon! You are now placed in Gods" Heavenly Garden" Your beauty shine from above. Here on earth – JaVan T. and Devean C. You are sadly missed and loved! Rosa Mavins Bogar a native of Orangeburg, South Carollina "play in peace"


Rosa Bogar   September 18th, 2010 12:30 pm ET

Did you hear what I did not? Oprah Winfrey had the family of the young lady that killed her two sons on her show.They are from Orangeburg,South Carolina. The world knows that by now.But Oprah never mention Orangeburg only South Carolina .The Edisto River is a land mark in South Carolina.The other guests on her show ,she specifically mention where the incident took place. If I missed Oprah,s mention of Orangeburg, I do apology. I did go to the bathroom once during the show Rosa Bogar a native of Orangeburg. thanks


Rosa Bogar   October 24th, 2010 1:54 pm ET

Larrysomething needs to be done on a national level . if not all will suffer. I feel Scary! and it is not yet "holloween" I see creatures walking about with hoods and wearing no "Smiles" that makes me very Sad! There is "mooning "no witches on brooms" there are invisible shackles. There needs to be a National March on "mr.saggin" for creating a STINK all over the country! This is one to yet be reckoned with! Thanks for letting me share this truth.Rosa Bogar a Black Designer "fads are not, made to last but, qiuckly pass"


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