Utah Firing Squad Execution Likely Last of its Kind

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Five sharpshooters fired bullets through the heart of a double murderer in what was billed as a bloody throwback to Old West-style justice.

Shackled to a chair and with a black hood covering his head, Gardner, 49, was put to death just after midnight in a brightly lit execution chamber at Utah State Prison.

Gardner's gruesome death was billed as a bloody throwback to Old West-style justice, the first execution of its kind in the United States for more than a decade and possibly the last ever. Execution by firing squad was outlawed by Utah in 2004 but the ban was not retroactive, meaning Gardner was able to choose the method instead of lethal injection during a hearing in April.

But there was an unmistakably 21st century twist to his final minutes when Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff used micro-blogging site Twitter to announce he had given the final approval for the execution....

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