June 17, 2010

A look inside the Utah firing squad execution room

Posted: 10:04 AM ET

NOTE: We'll be discussing this TONIGHT on LARRY KING LIVE

Hours away from his scheduled execution by firing squad, Utah death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner has asked Gov. Gary Herbert for a temporary stay, according to the state Department of Corrections.

The three-page letter was delivered to Herbert shortly before 10 a.m., the department said in a statement on its website. It was signed by Gardner's attorneys and asks the governor to "issue a respite or reprieve pursuant to your executive power under the Utah Constitution."



Filed under: Justice

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Michael   June 17th, 2010 3:41 pm ET

And what does this comment have to do with the execution? Or is this just RNC propoganda?

Candace   June 17th, 2010 4:22 pm ET

This is news. This man will be the first person in decades to die by firing squad. 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 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; 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.

Working Class Hero   June 17th, 2010 5:07 pm ET

This is absolutely barbaric. It makes me ashamed to be an American to think that this can happen in our society. This is a clear example of why we need federal laws to prevent local jurisdictions from such poor judgement and horrendous outcomes.

Melissa   June 17th, 2010 5:12 pm ET

And that is the reason they are stuck behind bars. I for one do not want a person who brutally murdered people to just feel remorse nad then have the choice to later..after they thought about what they did wrong and how to do it again only not get be let out to make the same damn decision again. Our system is thorough enough to put those who deserve to die to death. There is no excuse for these sick people to get to live their life after they have taken the lives of other. I believe they deserve what they do to others. Those who deserve parole get it.

Dave   June 17th, 2010 5:13 pm ET

spoken like someone who truly knows nothing about the prison system and convicted criminals. Guess what sweetie... you get to deal with the consequences of your actions. Now if you want to continue to live in playland, grow up, get a degree and teach kindergarten.

gerald Jolly   June 17th, 2010 6:15 pm ET

The fact is that no matter how barbaric this sounds, it's head and shoulders of a Lethal Injection. the Gas Chamber, or Hanging, or the Electric Chair.

One shot to in Brain Pan, and it's painless instant death.

You have to remember that an eye for an eye, and a life for a life.

Sound's like good math to me.

Celia Walter   June 17th, 2010 6:36 pm ET

One of the commandments in the Bible is: "Thou shalt not kill."

AND it is against the law to KILL. 'Which is WHY this man IS in jail."

Therefore, if the people of the government in certain States, deliberately plan FIRST DEGREE PRE-MEDITATED MURDER, then THEY should be arrested and locked-up in prison, for the rest of their lives.

Let this man spend "the rest of his life" in PRISON !!!

...And make damn sure he never escapes, or 'tries to' again.

dawn   June 17th, 2010 7:27 pm ET

he deserves it... KARMA... !

Charlie   June 17th, 2010 8:38 pm ET

Executions aren't intended to stop others from committing the same type of crime, for payback to the victims, or to help rehabilitate any others in prison. It is intended for punishment to the person for the crime against another person and society. When a society fails to carry out its responsibility by punishing those who commit these crimes against it, then it is doomed. The prison system is not a place anyone would want to be in the rest of their life, but these murderers get to have relationships with whomever in prison for the rest of their lives and that is not right. Especially when they denied another person any possibility of having anything.

Martin Schiebel   June 17th, 2010 9:05 pm ET

Sure , he comitted a serious crime and must be punished ,but can someone please tell me how does killing people who kill people show that killing people is wrong ????

I just dont understand how a great and beautiful country like America can still be medieval enough to have state sanctioned murders as a legal form of punishment on earth can this still be happening today? ...its like something Hitler would have done, not a modern sensible society like America .Come on American people wake up, your too good for this , dont allow your law makers to endorse this sick madness and blood thirsty revenge attitude !

Dude   June 17th, 2010 9:15 pm ET

I dont think the death penalty is used near enough, if you know for sure that you will pay the ultimate consequence for your actions might get people to "think it through". Instead they get to spend their in shelter with 3 meals a day, heat, air conditioning, fitness facilities, and full access to education. Does this really sound like punnishment for taking someones life??? I see homeless people every day that did nothing wrong living a worse life than that.

Robert Cohen   June 17th, 2010 9:26 pm ET

It should be well settled that life is a battle and to make it through the next day in a prison cell is a more severe punishment than ending that struggle with a fast bullet.

If the society wants to really punish the convicts, it should allow them to be punished every day in their prison cells until DNA or other evidence exonerate them, or until they die in their cell.

Theresa   June 17th, 2010 9:36 pm ET

I do not believe in the death penalty...I certainly don;t believe in a firing squad as a means of execution. To me this is reminds me of Afghanistan..what.s next...stoning outdoors for all the public to see.

rowdy   June 17th, 2010 9:40 pm ET

I think the day there convicted is the day they should die bring back the electric chair put it on tv and let people see what happens to scums that kill innocent people I bet the murder rate would go down

RLB   June 17th, 2010 9:43 pm ET

How dare he ask for a temporary stay, a reprieve! Did his victim have the choice to ask for one!

RALPH HUMPHREY   June 17th, 2010 9:44 pm ET

good riddence to bad rubbish.

T-man   June 17th, 2010 9:50 pm ET

So who is going to punish the firing squad, the govenor, the supreme court, the judge and jury who are also murderers? I know the answer. It it almighty God Himself. Anyone who is or becomes involved in killing this man is also guilty of murder.

KiwiFred   June 17th, 2010 10:13 pm ET

Interesting debate. I believe in capital punishment and I believe that we should do it more often. There are countries in this world where they have swift and severe punishment for crime, their crime rates seem to be far, far lower that ours in our 'civilized' countries. Go figure.

TESLA   June 17th, 2010 10:31 pm ET

I would rather see people like this live out there days in misery.

Dude   June 17th, 2010 10:45 pm ET

Another note to all you quoting bible scripture "thao shalt not kill" remember this is a country free of religion so that cant be considered. If it can so should all religion and I can think of one off hand that you are rewarded for killing in the name of their "God"
Let the death penalty be a lesson to all those that want to take a life.
What about all the troops we have over seas forced to kill for the opinion you have the right to uphold???? Remember if we werent doing this for you, you wouldnt have the right to even voice your opinion on this subject or any other.

FRAN   June 17th, 2010 10:57 pm ET

This is shocking. We are no longer living in a state of nature – what kind of example does this set for other people, countries and children? Killing is a serious offence, but two wrongs do not make a right.... eye for an eye BS!

Jig   June 18th, 2010 12:08 am ET

This is unfortunate that we have lost all humanity. Squad committing this dubious act, how do you repent your sin!!

cb   June 18th, 2010 12:27 am ET

YESS!!! lets have him sit in prison for the rest of his life so he can waste hundreds of thousands more in tax dollars. He gets what he deserves, some of you people need to grow up. Life is not a box of chocolates and flowers as many seem to think.

Jake   June 18th, 2010 12:36 am ET

This guy deserves what he gets should have thought bout this before he decided to take peoples lives this should have took place a long time ago what was the hold up

Brian O'Halloran   June 18th, 2010 12:57 am ET

I support the death penalty,especially for serial killers and mass murderers. People like that have no right to live in society.
Unfortunaly,I live in Canada where the death penality has been abolished. That means you can kill as many people as you want but you will never be executed. The justice system in this country is a joke.
Victims of violence never get the justice they deserve in Canada.

RigPie2005   June 18th, 2010 12:59 am ET

I don't think people who commit violent crimes should have an opportunity to be "reformed". I also don't want my tax dollars (20-30k a year) keeping him alive in prison. As long as they are not convicted on cirucumstantial evidence, and it is a cut and dry case, give them their appeals. Then a few rifle cartridges or a rope is the easiest and cheapest solution to the problem. You don't like it, then don't beat, kill, or rape, violent crimes should not be tolerated. With our national deficit, and programs helping good people being cut from the budgets, there is no need to waste money on people who have no concern for their fellow human beings.

Jen   June 18th, 2010 1:06 am ET

I was wuite shocked to learn today that even one state still had execution by firing squad on the books. In my opinion, if a person is sentenced to be executed, said person should not have the right to choose their method of execution. Firing squad may seem to some to be a quicker, less painful way to die, but I disagree. I believe that execution by firing squad or hanging are more inhumane ways to execute a prisoner than lethal injection or even the electric chair. After all, this is 2010 and we as a society have evolved in many ways.

I am a proud Canadian when it comes to most things "Canada". One thing that I certainly do not agree with in Canadian law is that there is no death penalty here. I believe that certain crimes should be subject to the death penalty. Maybe if Canada brought it back, it would help lower our violent crimes rate.

RigPie2005   June 18th, 2010 1:13 am ET

And, this country needs MORE seperation of church and state, those of you preaching "thou shall not kill", you can vote with that crap in mind, but America does not worship jesus, you do. We are so far from a "free" nation, I am sick of being governed under others religious based morals, part of a "free" country is putting up with things you don't agree with, whenever the activity doesn't directly effect your life, ie. same sex marriage, gambling, drugs, and similar.

Lisa   June 18th, 2010 1:13 am ET

Simply put, a death for a death.

harvey   June 18th, 2010 1:40 am ET

i don't believe in killing , in this case the guy was 23 year"s old, now he is 49, he has had a lot of time to grow up, he should be locked away for his crimes, the wife of the man he killed, and also the victoms father ask that he not be killed, i think their wishe's should be honered.

Bort   June 18th, 2010 1:48 am ET

People, people. Wake up and smell the coffee. There are 20 minutes left in this mans life. What were his victims thinking when they had 20 minutes left. 25 years is too long to carry out a punishment. He was sentenced and no one objected then. So why now? Just because the ability to have a voice is more readily available? The lives that were lost cannot be restored and neither will his. His demise and the attention that is has stirred will pass. Let us try to think of those that were harmed and the love their families need to go on. They are the ones that I am most concerned about.

But speaking of concern, what about the video games today where kids are killing themselves and each other right and left in more "barbaric" means and methods in play land that this bloke did in real life. What within our society is happening to change these individuals from taking the 'game' to the extreme?

OH Lee   June 18th, 2010 2:25 am ET

Hey. If you want to have capital punishment, you need to face up to what you're doing. Strapping someone to a gurney, sticking a hypodermic needle in his arm and putting him to sleep may seem "humane," but all it does it ease your conscious.

Wake up, people. Capital punishment means KILLING a human being. Don't advocate the death penalty and then whine about it being barbaric to tie a man to a chair and shoot him with guns.

The firing squad and hanging should be the only allowed methods of execution. I don't know that it would cause the death penalty to be outlawed altogether, but at least it would force the public to be aware of what it is doing.

And if the majority still favors capital punishment, so be it.

Taryn   June 18th, 2010 2:31 am ET

death penalty is the easy way out...

Carmine F Oliveri   June 18th, 2010 2:36 am ET


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   June 18th, 2010 2:54 am ET

Firing squad.........barbaric. There's the injection and the chair that can be used instead.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   June 18th, 2010 2:55 am ET

Why have decided to put this man to death after so long.

jj   June 18th, 2010 3:31 am ET

Barbaric? what about the "war on terror" the usa is a barbaric country its fitting that you have firing squads

JM   June 18th, 2010 6:42 am ET

Say what you want about the death penalty, but as long as these murderers are still alive, more deaths at their hand are possible. Not just the other prisoners, but prison guards and officials... and what if he escaped?

Whichever methods of execution you feel are barbaric, how about their victims? Were they spared pain, torture, humiliation? Did these guys even stop for one moment to consider that? They are executed far more humanely than they deserve. They deserve to be put to death the same way their victims died. That's an eye for an eye.

Manfred Mebert   June 18th, 2010 3:02 pm ET

Now Ronnie Lee Gardner is dead – even 24 hours ago he was alive and I am deeply convinced: a man like him who spent 25 years in jail (waiting for death penalty) had changed his mind and personality so much and so deeply becoming a mature person. I furthermore believe that even if they had let him free now, he would have become a precious and benedictaory member of society, a helping hand for many people (especially those who are threatened to to the same mistakes like him before). But – revenge is always stronger than love, that's the reason why he had no chance. And I hope that those "officials" who killed him are aware of the circumstance that they are today not better than R.L.Gardner was in former times.

Jennifer   June 18th, 2010 3:27 pm ET

Lethal injection is a pussy way of dying. Lets put the person in a coma and kill him. Did you know that when a person undergoes lethal injection he is given a series of drugs. The first drug,Sodium thiopental, is a medication that puts you to sleep. The second drug,Pancuronium, is used to paralyze your muscles. The third drug is Potassium chloride, and its job is to speed up your heart rate causing dysarrythymias which kill you. NO PAIN!!

Firing squad is quick. Yes you see the people standing there with guns and you know you are going to die.

Electric chair- electrical death–may or may not work. Look at the number of people who get struck by lighting. Some die and some dont. When someone is put in the electric chair, if they dont die immediately, they are subjected to another round of electricity until they are pronounced dead.

Gas chambers: these are used to expel gases into a closed chambers. You are put in a chair, strapped down, and made to inhale lethal gases until your lungs cannot exchange the gases into clean oxgygen.

Hanging- you have a rope put around your neck and hung by your neck until you are lierally strangled to death.

Given these forms of capital punishment you will see that all come with pain–some worse than others. I am for capital punishment since my great aunt was killed for a mere $20. What I dont like is the fact that these murderers are allowed to free housing, free education, and alot of other things that they are given while we have homeless people who have nothing. Everyone has their own opinion about capital punishment and we must agree to disagree. Not everyone is for capital punishment while others are dor it and wish we would make an 'expressway' lane. I know people will comment on this post and that is ok. I will respect all comments. Thank you for reading this post.

Wini   June 18th, 2010 3:52 pm ET

Dude, what are you babbling about? OUR country was founded on God and His truth ... not to be destroyed by those that want to follow Satan and his lies to the eternal fires!

Brian   June 18th, 2010 7:17 pm ET

Blow him away quit making a circus out of it

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