A five-member firing squad at the Utah State Prison took aim and fired .30-caliber bullets at a target pinned on the chest of Ronnie Lee Gardner, a convicted murderer, just after midnight on Friday. He was pronounced dead at 12:20 a.m. Mountain Time, after almost 25 years on death row and several months as the center of international attention focused not so much on crime as on his punishment.I wrote about this case back in April, when Gardner first made headlines around the globe by requesting the firing squad over lethal injection.
It was the third execution by firing squad in Utah — the only state still using that form of punishment — since 1976, when the United States Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty.
But in a strange twist, the execution being carried out was first announced by the governor of Utah, Mark Shurtleff (@MarkShurtleff), via Twitter:
"I just gave the go ahead to the Corrections Director to proceed with Gardner's execution," he tweeted, using his iPhone. "May God grant him the mercy he denied his victims."LOL. Mixing 19th century wild west execution methods with 21st century technology and the craving for followers. It's noted that Shurtleff picked up "several hundred new followers" after tweeting from the death chamber.
Awesome. I've been considering how best to increase the number of followers for the Power-Elite on twitter, but tweeting live from a state-sanctioned homicide never crossed my mind.