Utah brings back firing squads
Death by firing squad has returned to the US as a legal method of execution, after Utah's governor signed through a bill approving the method even as he admitted it was “a little bit gruesome”.
Critics said the decision was cruel and “an embarrassment to Utah”, while the local branch of the American Civil Liberties Union said it made the state “look backward and backwoods”.
Firing squads will only be used as a back-up when the lethal injection is not available, as Utah feels the effects of European manufacturers' refusal to export the components used in the drug.
Republican governor Gary Herbert defended the decision to make his state the only one in the US to offer the controversial method, insisting the state needed an alternative option to carry out the death penalty.
Utah remains the only state in the past 40 years to have killed someone by firing squad, though it stopped offering the method to anyone sentenced after 2004 on the grounds that the intense media interest took attention away from victims.
The last convict killed by firing squad in the US was Ronnie Lee Gardner in 2010. Sentenced for murder in Utah in 1985, his death at the hands of five police officers with rifles sparked condemnation from around the world.