SALT LAKE CITY (CBS/AP) After 25 years on death row, Ronnie Lee Gardner's execution date has been set for June 18. And now the Utah Department of Corrections has released new details as to how Gardner will be executed.
The Utah Department of Corrections released details Tuesday regarding the upcoming execution of Gardner, which will take place at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah in the facility's execution chamber.
Prior to the execution, Ronnie Gardner will have the option of asking up to five individuals to witness the execution, including legal and religious representatives, family, and friends. He will also the right to a last meal to be prepared at the prison facility by personnel.
The department of corrections will then select five law enforcement officials who will be armed with .30 caliber rifles, four of which will be loaded with live rounds.
The condemned, Gardner, will be secured to a chair, and a target will be placed over his heart and a hood over his head. At the conclusion of his last words, the execution team will commence fire.Gardner's impending execution has reignited the death penalty debate, especially death by firing squad which is considered to be archaic.
Gardner, who has requested a firing squad instead of lethal injection, was sentenced to death in 1985 after he shot and killed attorney Michael Burdell in an escape attempt at a Salt Lake City courthouse. Gardner also wounded a bailiff during the shooting.
Judge Robin Reese declared that Gardner and his legal team had "exhausted" all of his legal options; however, the defense has asked a judge to put the execution on hold while they appeal. In the appeal, Gardner's attorneys will argue that he was denied state funds to pay for experts and investigators to provide mitigating evidence during the penalty phase of his trial in 1985. The attorneys also filed a motion to stay the execution pending the appeal to the Utah Supreme Court.
It is unclear how Judge Reese will rule, but if she rejects the appeal and stands by her latest ruling, Gardner, 49, will be the first person put to death by firing squad since 1996.MORE ON CRIMESIDER