Archive for Saturday, June 12, 2010

Man makes last appeal to avoid firing squad

June 12, 2010

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— After two days of testimony about a condemned Utah man’s journey from a life of violence to reformation, his lawyer said Friday that fairness should compel a state parole board to stop his execution by firing squad.

“He came from a family that exuded criminality and violence, and that is what he was,” Ronnie Lee Gardner’s lawyer, Andrew Parnes, told the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. “He’s changed, he’s overcome that.”

Gardner wants the board to reduce his death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A majority of the five-person board must vote for clemency to cancel Gardner’s execution scheduled for June 18. The board plans to announce its decision Monday.

Arguing against commutation, Assistant Utah Attorney General Thomas Brunker said two murders, and a string of other violent crimes, support the proposed punishment.

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