Shot To The Heart

As Gil­more pre­pared for death, the squad pre­pared to carry out the first ex­e­cu­tion in al­most a decade

Real Crime - - Execute Me -

Fir­ing Squad

The fir­ing squad, com­prised of five marks­men, is as­sem­bled be­hind a wall with ri­fle ports, about 7.5 me­tres away from the chair. Four mem­bers of the squad are given a ri­fle with two rounds of live am­mu­ni­tion, while one is given non- lethal wax bul­lets. The lo­ca­tion of the dummy rounds are not dis­closed to the of­fi­cers, so each may in the­ory can be­lieve they did not de­liver the fa­tal shot.

Black Hood

Once all for­mal­i­ties re­gard­ing Gil­more’s last rites have been car­ried out, a black cor­duroy hood is placed over his face. Gil­more makes a re­quest for ex­e­cu­tion with­out the hood but this was de­nied.


Once the war­den re­ceives con­fir­ma­tion that all fi­nal ap­peals have been ex­hausted and there are no stays of ex­e­cu­tion, he gives the or­der to a su­per­vi­sor to pro­ceed with the ex­e­cu­tion, and a count­down be­gins. At the end of the count­down the of­fi­cers fire their ri­fles.


A pa­per tar­get is pinned over Gil­more’s heart, giv­ing the marks­men an in­di­ca­tion as to where they should aim.


On the morn­ing of 17 Jan­uary 1977, a con­demned Gil­more is led and strapped to a sturdy steel chair on an el­e­vated plat­form that sits in the ex­e­cu­tion cham­ber be­hind Utah State Pen­i­ten­tiary.

Gary Gil­more

Gil­more is strapped to the chair. A halo brace holds his head in place. He is asked if he has any fi­nal words and is lim­ited to two min­utes. Of­fi­cial guide­lines stip­u­late that if a pris­oner ex­ceeds that time or uses pro­fan­i­ties or foul lan­guage then the ex­e­cu­tion should pro­ceed.


Sev­eral large sand­bags are stacked each side of the chair for the pur­pose of catch­ing any ric­o­chet­ing bul­lets.

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