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Man could face firing squad in Utah

A condemned killer appears headed for a date with death in Utah that could see him sit before a firing squad and re-ignite protests over an antiquated, Old West-style of justice.

At a hearing Friday, 3rd District Judge Robin Reese will consider whether to sign a warrant of execution for Ronnie Lee Gardner, who killed a man during a failed escape 25 years ago.

Under state law, the 49-year-old Gardner would be allowed to decide whether he would be killed by lethal injection or be shot by a five-man team of executioners firing from a set of matched rifles.

Of the 35 states with the death penalty on the books, Utah is the only one to use the firing squad as a method of execution since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976.

-- Associated Press

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 23, 2010; 8:01 AM ET
Categories:  Around the Nation , Death Penalty  
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This story overlooks a critical point. The firing squad has little to do with the Wild West and going out with a blaze of glory. It hearkens to a passage in the Book of Mormon that states that, when it comes to murder, without blood there is no forgiveness. The choice of firing squad was a way for the condemned to seek forgiveness from God for the crime, through the shedding of his own blood. The old method of execution was by hanging, which is a bloodless death. So is electrocution. One can even make the comparison that Christ himself shed blood on the cross, compared to Judas, who died a bloodless death (hence forgiveness of the sins of man through Jesus' death blood, but no forgiveness for Judas).

Posted by: Prussianblue28 | April 23, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Oh! Then having that option available to Mormons makes sense. Either way, it's his choice and the courts in Utah have allowed a religious exemption. What's the complaint?

Posted by: merzydoats | April 23, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Kinda wish Napalm had been his choice. 'Course some gleeful executers will say he'll see napalm soon enough.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | April 24, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

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