At midnight last night, the U.S. executed convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner by firing squad in Utah. This execution was most notable for two things: Gardner's decision to die by firing squad (inmates can choose between a hail of gun fire or the more popular lethal injection), and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's use of Twitter to recount the details.
According to Shurtleff, here's how the killer went down late last night:
@MarkShurtleff A solemn day. Barring a stay by Sup Ct, & with my final nod, Utah will use most extreme power & execute a killer. Mourn his victims. Justice about 23 hours ago via TwitBird iPhone
@MarkShurtleff I just gave the go ahead to Corrections Director to proceed with Gardner’s execution. May God grant him the mercy he denied his victims. Fri Jun 18 06:02:49 via TwitBird iPhone
@MarkShurtleff We will be streaming live my press conference as soon as I'm told Gardner is dead. Watch it at www.attorneygeneral.Utah.gov/live.html about 12 hours ago via TwitBird iPhone
While some might decry the use of Twitter during an execution as going too far -- our country's insistence on still using capital punishment as a bogyman deterrent is, arguably, the bigger issue here -- at least Shurtleff was being transparent. So, you know, there's that.
Anyway, as with most doomed prisoners, Gardner had a comparatively lavish week before facing the firing squad. Gardner watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy in his observation cell, the Guardian reports. His final meal consisted of steak, lobster tail, apple pie and vanilla ice cream with 7-Up soda. He ate the meal on Tuesday, because he wanted to fast before the execution "in keeping with his Mormon faith."
Surf and turf, an excellent choice. But what about other last meals? Below are a few noteworthy final menus requested by death row inmates.