UPDATE | Utah firing squads 'cruel' says brother of last man executed
Randy Gardner cannot forget the sight of his brother's bullet-riddled body. Multiple murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner was the last person in Utah executed by firing squad. Now, state lawmakers have voted to reinstate firing squads, a method of execution that Randy Gardner calls "cruel and unusual punishment."
"I seen him at the mortuary before they cremated him. I wanted to look at his chest to make sure they really had hit him in the heart. So I unzipped the bag and pulled his shirt down and there were four holes over his heart where I could have just reached in and stuck four of my fingers right in him. Pretty disgusting."
'After he was executed, I was able to see the four bullet holes in his chest. That's pretty barbaric if you ask me.'
- Randy Gardner, brother of multiple murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner, the last man executed by firing squad in the state of Utah
"When you tie someone to a chair, put a hood over their head and have five men shoot them from across the room, it's just not something we should be doing. I don't believe in the death penalty in any form whatsoever. They're talking about bringing back the guillotine in some states. It's just getting out of control."
He says two hundred officers volunteered to pull the trigger in 2010. The ones that did, including prison staff, received commemorative coins.
Gardner never condoned his brother's actions. He says he feels terrible for the victims' families. But, he believes executions, including by lethal injection, aren't the answer.
Utah Republican Paul Ray disagrees. He says firing squads offer a quicker, more certain death and therefore more humane death than lethal injections which sometimes go awry. Representative Ray sponsored the bill reinstating firing squads. It won approval from the Utah legislature on Tuesday. Gary Herbert, Utah's Republican Governor has declined to say whether he will sign the bill into law.