The Execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner

Twenty-five years after he murdered three people, Ronnie Lee Gardner was put to death by firing squad. But death row attorney and author David R. Dow says that years after the crime the whole ritual just doesn’t make sense.

Trent Nelson / AP Photo

Trent Nelson / AP Photo

Ronnie Lee Gardner listens to proceedings during his commutation hearing at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, Thursday, June 10, 2010. Nine days before he was set to be executed by a five-man firing squad, Gardner asked Utah's parole board to commute his death sentence to life in prison.

Trent Nelson / AP Photo

Family members of George "Nick" Kirk: Jamie Stewart, far left, Mandi Hull, and Barb Webb, react as the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole announces their unanimous decision to deny Ronnie Lee Gardner's request for commutation on Monday, June 14, 2010 in Draper, Utah. Gardner shot and seriously injured Kirk in a 1985 court shooting.

Steve C. Wilson / AP Photo

Lynn Taylor, left, and his wife Donna, niece of Michael Burdell, who was shot and killed by Ronnie Lee Gardner, speak to the media near the Utah State Prison before the execution of Gardner.

Steve C. Wilson / AP Photo

The Utah State Prison seen at sundown in Salt Lake City. Gardner, 49, was sentenced to death for a 1985 capital murder conviction stemming from the fatal courthouse shooting of attorney Michael Burdell during an escape attempt.

Steve C. Wilson / AP Photo

Family and friends of Ronnie Lee Gardner gather in front of the Utah State Prison as they prepare to release balloons into the air shortly after the scheduled execution.

Steve C. Wilson / AP Photo

Brandie Gardner, right, the daughter of Ronnie Lee Gardner, is comforted by close friend Debbie Evans just before the execution.

George Frey, EPA / Landov

Daniel Gardner, son of convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner, holds balloons with messages written on them as he waits for his father to be executed.

Steve C. Wilson / AP Photo

Members of the media who were witness to the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner address reporters Friday, June 18, 2010 in Salt Lake City. Gardener was declared dead at 12:20 a.m.

Trent Nelson / AP Photo

The execution chamber at the Utah State Prison after Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by firing squad.

Trent Nelson / AP Photo

Four bullet holes are visible in the wood panel behind the chair in the execution chamber at the Utah State Prison.