Author Topic: witness to a public execution  (Read 983 times)

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witness to a public execution
« on: June 19, 2010, 03:44:53 am »
Eyewitness: Ronnie Lee Gardner execution                                                                from the telegraph 19/06/2010

I thought I might flinch, but I didn't. It was so quick that for a split-second I wondered if it had actually happened.

There was no blood splattered across the white wall at the Utah State Prison. No audible sounds from the condemned. I couldn't see his eyes. I never saw the .30-calibre rifles and didn't hear the countdown to the trigger-pull.

A twice-convicted killer who had a troubled upbringing, Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by firing squad shortly after midnight on Friday. I was one of nine journalists to observe his death, which the state classifies as a homicide.
This, however, was a meticulously orchestrated event with a sober, pre-packaged ending.

When the prison warden pulled back the beige curtain, Gardner was already strapped into a black, straight-backed metal chair. His head secured by a strap across his forehead. Harness-like straps constrained his chest. His handcuffed arms hung at his sides. A white cloth square maybe 3 inches across affixed to his chest over his heart bore a black target.

Seconds before the impact of the bullets, Gardner's left thumb twitched against his forefinger. When his chest was pierced, he clenched his fist. His arm pulled up slowly as if he were lifting something and then released. The motion repeated.

Although the dark blue prison jumpsuit made it difficult to see, blood seemed to be pooling around Gardner's waist.

The silence was deafening.

A medical examiner checked Gardner's pulse on both sides of his neck, then lifted the black hood to check his pupils with a flashlight, offering a brief glimpse of his now ashen face.

It was 12.17am. Only two minutes had passed since the shots were fired, but it felt like things had moved in slow motion.

About an hour later, prison officials let the media inspect the chamber. There was a strong smell of bleach, but no sign of blood.

The only evidence that a man had been shot and killed there were four holes from the bullets that impaled the black wood panels behind the chair.

Prison officials say Gardner willingly made the 90ft walk to the execution chamber.

No one from his family watched him go. Nor were his attorneys present.

Similarly, Gardner chose not to utter any final thoughts or feelings.

Maybe it was his way of holding on to a small slice of privacy amid his very public death.

Lord Pisces luffy
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Re: witness to a public execution
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2010, 07:33:25 am »
Apparently, he was one of the few people left in Utah who can legally ask for the firing squad for their death sentence because he was given his death sentence before 2004.  Utah didn't get rid of firing squads until 2004.
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