24 Apr 2010

Killer to be executed by firing squad

12:11 pm on 24 April 2010

A judge in Salt Lake City, Utah, has sanctioned the execution of a convicted murderer by firing squad.

Ronnie Lee Gardner, 49, will be the first person in the United States to face a firing squad in 14 years.

He was convicted of killing an attorney in a botched escape attempt from a courthouse in 1985.

The BBC reports he was given a choice between lethal injection or being shot, and chose the firing squad.

Of 35 states with the death penalty, Utah is the only one in the United States to have firing squads as an option.

Critics say the method is a relic from the state's Wild West past and should be abolished.

The judge set the execution date for 18 June, but Gardner's lawyer said he would appeal.