quote:SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- Gov. Olene Walker has done away with firing squads in Utah, leaving injection as the only method for executing condemned killers.
The Utah Legislature passed the measure late last month, and Walker had said she intended to sign it. She did so Monday without comment.
Lawmakers have said the elimination of firing squads will deny killers the chance to go out in a blaze of glory. Despite the measure's passage, the state will make allowance for four death row inmates who have already chosen to die in a hail of bullets.
Since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, two people in the United States have died by firing squad, both in Utah: Gary Gilmore in 1977 and John Albert Taylor in 1996. Taylor's execution drew more than 150 TV crews from around the world.
A relic of its territorial days, Utah's firing squads employ five riflemen, one of whom shoots a blank so that none will know who fired the lethal shots.
Idaho and Oklahoma retain the firing squad on their books but have not used it in modern times.
I didn't know there were ANY states where this was still the practice...
This is kind of related. Did you know that Arizona used the hangman's noose for capital punishment until 1933? Why did Arizona stop hanging people? It's rather gross, so I won't answer that question unless somebody really wants to know.
I heard that story too, Derrell. But the way I heard it, it was Washington DC, and a large man. And he wasn't actually hung because they predicted his decapitation. I don't think it really happened...but they may just be two different stories.
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Farmgirl, you just reminded me of the murder case that inspired In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Two men broke into a Kansas farmhouse and murdered the family. Of course, being raised in Kansas you probably knew about that one.
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quote: The last Pre-Furman execution of a female in the Southwest was that of a 49-year-old Eva Dugan She was the victim of a gruesome hanging on February 21, 1930 for a Murder-Robbery in Pima County, Arizona.
quote:In December 1935 a San Carlos Apache with a fierce temper, Earl Gardner, killed his wife, Nancy, and his baby boy, Edward. He had previously killed a fellow tribesman in 1925, had served several years in prison, but had been released. After killing his wife and child he quickly challenged the government to "get a good rope and get it over with." Everyone wanted him executed, especially the members of his tribe. Consequently, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to die by hanging. In a letter to a historian (Douglas D. Martin) a former reporter for the Phoenix Gazette, Jack Lefler, wrote the following about the 13 July 1936, execution:
The hanging of Earl Gardner was a very dramatic story and an exciting one to cover. . . . He was a juvenile delinquent and mean as hell, especially when loaded with tulapai. Marshal McKinney deputized everybody in sight, including reporters. We strutted the streets of Globe carrying rifles and stacking them in the corner of a bar when we went in for a drink. The gallows was an abandoned rock crusher in a canyon below Coolidge Dam. Earl was brought from the jail at Globe during the night and spent his last hours sitting in a car with the Rev. Uplegger. . . . I tried to interview them but they wouldn't talk. Reporters, officers and other witnesses lounged around campfires in the sandy bed of a wash through the night. There was quite a bit of boozing and horsing around. Earl went to the gallows without apparent concern and died a ghastly death. I was crouched in a corner of the crusher on a pile of gravel and damn near went through the trap after him. Earl's shoulder struck the side of the trap and broke his fall. He hung at the end of the rope gasping for 25 minutes until Maricopa County Sheriff Lon Jordan, a giant of a man, stepped down through the trap and put his weight on Earl's shoulder to tighten the noose and shut off his breathing. The execution of Gardner by hanging was so ghastly that Congress passed a law stipulating that from henceforth all federal executions had to take place according to the manner "prescribed by the laws of the State within which the sentence is imposed." As the law in Arizona required that executions should be done by lethal gas (law passed in 1933), no more hangings were to be permitted in Arizona, not even on federally-supervised Indian reservations. Thus the Pinal Mountain region witnessed the last legal hanging ever permitted in Arizona.
(This entire incident is explained in detail in Douglas D. Martin, "An Apache's Epitaph: The Last Legal Hanging in Arizona--1936," Arizona and the West 5 (Winter 1963), 352-360.)
Nope, never saw the movies or read the book. Have read many of the real-life news reports. Knew a relative of the Clutter family at one point in my life and heard her tell the story. Never had an desire to look into any further than that.