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18 Jun 2010 11:27


U.S.: Ronnie Lee Gardner execution: He clenched his fist before he died

  • Firing four bullets into a man’s chest is, by definition, violent. If it can also be clinical and sterile, then that also happened in this execution.
  • Salt Lake Tribune reporter Nate Carlisle • Describing what he saw as Ronnie Lee Gardner was killed by firing squad last night in Utah. The first-person account of the execution, which is the first Carlisle ever witnessed, is a gripping read. Instead of slumping over after being shot, like the guards expected he would, Gardner clenched his fist. Then de-clenched it. “At the time, I interpreted this as Gardner suffering — clenching his fist in an effort to fight the pain,” Carlisle wrote. “As I write this, I don’t know whether that’s true. It could have just been reflexes or some other process the body begins after a major trauma. Scientists do not know much about what a person shot through the heart feels.” No matter your thoughts on capital punishment, this is gripping. source