Ronnie Lee Gardner: Executed
The US has carried out its first execution by firing squad in 14 years.
Convicted murderer Ronnie Lee was soon executed after midnight local time in the state of Utah, after his final appeal had been rejected by the US Supreme Court. A request for ‘temporary’ stay had also been rejected by Utah Governor Gary Herbert on the grounds that Gardner had already had a full and fair opportunity to have his case considered by a large number of tribunals.
In 1985, Ronnie Lee Gardner was convicted of fatally shooting a lawyer during an attempt to escape from court where he was facing a murder charge dating back from 1984.
In Utah, death row convicts were allowed to choose their method of execution until 2004, when the State Legislators removed it and made ‘lethal injection’ the standard method. However, Ronnie Lee had been convicted before 2004 and at that time, he had opted for the firing squad. Gardner is the third man to be put to death in the US, in that way.
The execution took place at a prison in a suburb of Salt-Lake City, outside which more than twenty(20) members of Gardner’s family had gathered to hold a vigil. The execution was carried out by a five-man firing squad. Four rifles had been loaded with live bullets, but one had been loaded with a blank. This was done so that the man firing the gun would not know if he had given the fatal hit. This is possibly the only remotely humane thing that has happened in this case.
His family members say that Ronnie spent his last day watching the Lord of The Rings trilogy and meeting lawyers and clergymen. Once more, we humans have shown our barbaric side, hacking back to the times of the Wild West. Nevertheless, we must hope for the best and pray that God show him the mercy that he denied his victims.