CRIME

What It's Really Like To Witness A Firing Squad Execution

03/25/2015 01:52 pm ET

The only visible reaction Ronnie Lee Gardner gave to meeting death via a Utah firing squad was a clenched fist and a raised left arm, according to reporter Jennifer Dobner. Gardner, a convicted killer, was executed by a firing squad of five police officers in 2010, only the third man to die by the method since 1976.

Utah (and its use of firing squads) is making news again in 2015, as the state passed a bill this month to bring back the firing squad if they run out of lethal injection drugs. Gardner actually chose the firing squad, as death-row prisoners in Utah convicted before 2004 had the choice to opt out of lethal injection. At the time, Gardner actually argued the firing squad was more humane than the drugs.

Dobner, who works at the Salt Lake Tribune, remembers the operation being short and simple. Gardner was strapped to a chair, a black hood over his face with 25 feet separating him from a wall that concealed the five officers with rifles.

"It's very loud," she told host Josh Zepps. "There was no blood, no visible blood. I suppose some people are going to think this is like some movie scene, where there would be a lot of involuntary movement or blood spatter, but that was not present. It was very precise, very almost clinical process."

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