Ronnie was doing fine and commented again on how well everyone had treated him. I asked where our chessboard was. One of the officers appeared with one, but Ronnie said, "You know, I think I would rather just talk."
Ronnie's attorneys came by to say goodbye. A prison official came in and offered Ronnie a couple of DVDs – "Avatar" and "Invictus."
"If I come out of this alive, I want to come work for you," Ronnie told the official. "I could give you some ideas on how to run this place. First thing you need is some younger guys." The official replied, "If you come out of this alive, you've got a job."
A short time later, Ronnie asked for something to calm his nerves, and he was given a mild sedative. He didn't want to go to the chamber looking panicked. By 9:45, Ronnie was obviously sleepy and wanted to lie down in spite of the events that would shortly come. I asked if he wanted me to stay. "No," he said, "you can go." I spent the next 10 minutes reviewing things with Ronnie, asking if he had any questions about the principles and ideas we had discussed. He asked me to pray for him and to tell anyone who might ask, "I am so sorry for the tragedies I have caused."
He thanked me again for our friendship and the kindness and patience he had felt. "I love you, man. I'll see you later." I said, "I love you, too, Ronnie, and I will see you later."
As I walked out of the prison at about 10:30, it occurred to me that this was the closing of a major chapter in my life. It was a relief in some ways because it was stressful, but sad too because there was something going on there that I felt honored to be a part of. Ronnie was one of many I worked with. He was the culmination of my work there.
As I reached my car, I received a call from the guys in our band. It was Thursday night – our practice night. They wanted me to join them at Denny's. I wanted to go home, but they were persistent. That's where I was during the execution. We could have gone home sooner, but we waited. When midnight came, one of the guys asked, "Do you think it's happened?" I told him, "It will probably take them a few minutes to do everything." As I pulled the car out on the freeway to go home, I turned on the radio. They reported that Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by firing squad at 12:17 a.m., Friday, June 18, 2010. I sat up in bed talking to my wife about it late into the night.
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