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Ronnie Lee Gardner execution: Brother, daughter allowed 1 last hug through prison bars

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  • dudleysharp
    June 18, 2010 5:20 p.m.

    What kept Garner alive was the appeals process, which was, extraordinarily, kind to Gardner, and cruel to the vicitm suvivors.

  • MeMeJZ13
    June 18, 2010 3:34 p.m.

    I have always had very mixed opinions about the death penalty. Crimes such as this include so many more people than just the victim and perpetrator. So many families have been forever changed. I pray that even in such a death as Mr. Gardner's, that there is peace and closure for all those effected. Over the years I have had friends who have lost family members to horrible crimes and also have family members who have committed those crimes. The families left behind are also victims. I pray for the families of Mr. Otterstrom, Mr. Burdell, and Mr. Kirk. I also can not help but feel for the family of Mr. Gardner. I was born and raised in Utah and lived in SLCity for many years as a child. I do not know if this is the same family or not, but we lived next door to some Gardner's for several years before moving out of state. I have often thought of them and wondered what happened to all the kids on that little dead-end street. We were all very close growing up. In any case, I pray this brings peace to all these grieving families.

  • Screwdriver
    June 18, 2010 2:34 p.m.

    Prisoners are denied contact with family because everyone knows it's a huge punishment not to touch yur daughter or wife's hand - ever again.

    I big on the ability of love to change people and haven't seen punishment have the desired effect.

    But I know I won't change some people's minds.

  • sid 6.7
    June 18, 2010 2:16 p.m.

    Mr. Gardner

    You have paid your debt to society in full. May you now reconcile with your victims on the other side.

    May God have mercy on your soul.

  • Not So Fast
    June 18, 2010 1:52 p.m.

    financenco, no offense but your logic doesn't hold. The consequences of his actions are what lawyers and a judge put in place many decades ago. We, the people, should demand life in prison with no parole rather than death. We have, as a society, chosen immoral consequences for immoral actions. We stand with other societies like Iran, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Sermon on The Mount teaches the values I wish we lived.

  • Not So Fast
    June 18, 2010 1:45 p.m.

    I sincerely praise PeakBagger for thinking and feeling. All of us are so quick to make a point that we fail to do those two things. I am impressed.

  • Lowonoil
    June 18, 2010 1:05 p.m.

    I will accept the fairness of the death penalty when I see a murdering Heisman trophy winner, or a murdering legendary record producer, or a murdering 70's crime drama TV star strapped to the gurney.


  • RedShirt
    June 18, 2010 11:57 a.m.

    To "Sally Smiles-a-Lot | 12:46 a.m. " Ron Gardner was not offered as a sacrifice, he was put to death to fullfill the demands of justice.

  • VIDAR
    June 18, 2010 11:55 a.m.

    If the death penalty is justice, then why do we not execute everyone convicted of murder?
    If our intention is to teach others not to kill, then why do we do it hidden away behind walls?
    Why do we not have public executions? If it is going to help the victims family so much, then why do we not let them see his face while he dies?
    For those who want to argue a scriptural argument (which I find highly offensive)
    I think all Mormons that support the death penalty, should be required to meet in the middle of temple square, and participate in a public stoning of the convicted.
    If god approves, then it isn’t murder, right?
    I leave out the other religions, because as far as I could see, they were all at church asking for forgiveness and clemency.

  • blog this
    June 18, 2010 11:54 a.m.

    I am no expert of the scriptures but I do know that when the bible says "thou shalt not kill" it had no reference to capital punishment meted out by society. When Moses presented the "the law," including the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" to the Israelites, he drew a line in the earth and asked all who would agree to live the law to step over the line. Those who refused to step over the line and accept the law were killed. Many were killed (executed) that day. Their punishment was the forfeiture of their lives. You may disagree with the government's right today to carry out capital punishment but do not rely on the bible's admonition, "thou shalt not kill" to support your opinion.

  • Russ
    June 18, 2010 11:42 a.m.

    Well said big daddy.
    And Amelia, hopefully the families of the murdered can finally rest. Heaven will judge the killer and he will get his just reward. I only hope you never have to witness a violent murder as some of us have. You might change your mind.

  • JLFuller
    June 18, 2010 11:21 a.m.

    The J of D is/was not an authorized LDS Church publication and comments published in it were not necessarily doctrine. Non members and some members have the misguided notion that everything a GA said is gospel - it isn't. For example, President Young was fond of using hyperbole to make his points. GA's have opinions that are not to be taken as gospel. Just ask one. There is only one source for authorized doctrine at a time and it is the currently sitting President of the Church. The Church's entire doctrinal foundation is based on continuing revelation. What was valid 150 years ago may not work today. That is why we need prophets to sort these things out. If it has a "Thus sayeth the Lord..." attached to it you can safely assume it is doctrinal. Without it, it could just be good advice based on opinion. President Hinckley spoke to this very subject.

  • Amelia P.
    June 18, 2010 10:55 a.m.

    I am with Peakbagger. Well Said. Hopefully Ronnie Gardner is finally at peace and happy, and loved.

  • big daddy
    June 18, 2010 10:43 a.m.

    Why did it take 25+ years to finely do what was required by law - all of the legal / lawyer juggling.
    No matter the reason why [his past history] he killed 2 people - no question about it, with that action he thereby forfeited his life — his time on earth.
    He deserved to die to fulfill the demands of justice - the law - End of story.
    Should have happened about 25 years ago — it would have been better for all.!!
    By his-actions — no one else, he left a stain on all of society.

  • So. Cal Reader
    June 18, 2010 10:41 a.m.

    I love reading the "organic gardening" take each time I read it. Thanks much for the laughs! I guess Randy will need to "live the dream" by himself!

  • Russ
    June 18, 2010 9:56 a.m.

    Ridiculous!!! :(
    Wouldn't it be nice if the victim's families had a chance to hug their murdered fathers and grandfathers one more time. Why all the coverage of the murderer's family, what about the "true" victims of this bloody killer.

  • TMR
    June 18, 2010 9:54 a.m.

    It is sad to think how much more good could have been accomplished by letting Gardner help others avoid his same crimes. Executing him accomplishes nothing. It only brings closure because it was unclear what would be his fate. Once again, Utah makes news for all of the wrong reasons.

  • MapleDon
    June 18, 2010 9:44 a.m.

    Were Gardner's victims allowed one last hug, one last word with family and friends before dying?

    This sympathy for a killer makes me want to throw up.

    But you need people like Gardner. You need another sensational story to write about, don't you.

    Too bad (but not at all surprising) you didn't take time to hear the heartache and suffering of his victims' families and friends.

    You wouldn't dare because you don't care about victims. Your sympathy doesn't extend that far, does it.

  • Henry Drummond
    June 18, 2010 9:23 a.m.

    There is another side to all of this. A friend of mine has a son on death row in another state. I have seen the effect that this has had on him and his family. He is as good a man as there is and did everything to be a good father, but drugs, alcohol, and friends had a powerful influence on his son. I'll leave it for others who are more objective than I can be to argue the merits of this type of punishment. Maybe it does bring closure to the family of the victims and gives society a sense of retribution, but it punishes other people as well who are innocent.

  • washcomom
    June 18, 2010 8:43 a.m.

    Isn't it better for one man to die, than for an entire community to live in fear?

    Even if Ronnie had his sentence commuted, there would have been dire consequences. He said he was his own flight risk, his own enemy by possibly committing similar crimes again, and he had to eventually succumb to the fact that he had to repay the debt he gave to others by having his life in jeopardy and eventually dying for it. Not that it makes him a savior or a martyr, but it makes him human and underlines the frailty of human life in every sense of the word.

  • thelogicalone
    June 18, 2010 8:21 a.m.

    I'm glad justice was served and have thought much about the victims' families. I have also thought about Mr. Gardner's family as well; they are victims of his crimes and actions as well. While society will not miss him, his family will. It's not easy to lose someone you love; as all of his victims know.

  • financenco
    June 18, 2010 6:41 a.m.

    People have to live by the law of the land. It says if you kill, especially in the way he did it, you can face death penalty. If you don't want to die, don't do the crime. The people he killed didn't get a trial, before he said they needed to die. He killed, and now he has remorse. Had it worked out for him, he would still be living the life in Burmuda some where, and his family would have been visiting or some odd thing. It is time for all states to have the death penalty. The victim's family chose to forgive, that is good, but it still doesn't change the fact that he has to face the consequences fromhis actions. And it wasn't until recently that he started changing his mind about it, which was too late.

  • George
    June 18, 2010 6:21 a.m.

    @DOM
    How much money is a human life worth? What’s the dollar amount we should place on a human life before we say, alright your done we are going to kill you know? Give me a number.

  • George
    June 18, 2010 6:16 a.m.

    @OnlyInUtah
    So his family (who did nothing wrong) got to be traumatized and you think that is something to be happy about? He may have deserved to die but to claim his family somehow got what they deserved is just sick.

  • Deenohh
    June 18, 2010 5:12 a.m.

    Gotta love guys like Baquaman - a real fire & brimstone type. First, its the whole bible has been misinterpreted by everyone BUT HIM. But the thing is, the bible DOESNT say "Thou shall not murder", it says what it says and that is "THOU SHALL NOT KILL"
    Somehow, I dont think that means you get a pass if you do it the name of the state.
    Jesus preached a different message than the violence of the old testament so whe could get away from retributuion and revenge. I dont think it too much of a stretch to interpret Jesus teachings as being against the very IDEA of capital punishment.

  • Rock
    June 18, 2010 5:04 a.m.

    Cynic, you have made a good point. It's ironic that even his own family are victims of his murderous behavior. Yes we all feel sorry for them, just like we feel sorry for the families of his other victims. I extend my sympathies to them also, but that does not change that he needed to be executed.

  • cynic
    June 18, 2010 3:51 a.m.

    Several of you have pointed out that Gardner's victims didn't get the chance to say goodbye to their families, and this is true. Our greatest sympathy right now should be for those families.

    However, even those of you who can muster no sympathy whatsoever for Gardner surely must recognize that his daughter, who was only 3 years old when her father was sent to death row, is also an innocent victim of his crimes. She is entitled to our sympathy and compassion today even if her father isn't. The callousness some of you have shown towards her and the other members of Gardner's family is truly sickening. They will probably read the comments you have made. Did you think of that before you posted?

  • cynic
    June 18, 2010 3:40 a.m.

    To people whose reading of the Bible stopped at the book of Genesis, I suggest you keep reading before you comment further. You can start in the 5th chapter of Matthew, and ask yourself what Jesus meant when he expressly rejected the "eye for an eye" practices of the past. Read on, where he talks about turning the other cheek, loving your enemies, doing good to those who hate you. Keep reading, where he is confronted by the Jews with a woman caught in adultery, punishable by death under Jewish law. Did he approve of the death penalty in that case, or did he suggest mercy? After you've read these things, come back and tell me you still think the gospel of Jesus Christ supports capital punishment.

  • Sally Smiles-a-Lot
    June 18, 2010 12:46 a.m.

    To Baguaman, Christ came to fulfill the law, doing away with the shedding of blood as a sacrifice on the altars, as had been done since the days of Moses, and long before, since the time of Adam, as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of the Savior. However, that is not the same as capital punishment. I am not particularly in favor of it, and I think Gardner's execution is a sad thing. But it closes this chapter of the lives of everyone involved, and hopefully they can all go on and move forward now, and try to find ways to help other boys, and girls too, to avoid the pitfalls that Ronnie Lee fell into. Perhaps the organic farm he and his brother dreamed and planned can come to fruition and be the instrument of change for some youth who are going astray. I truly hope so.

  • EliseM
    June 18, 2010 12:35 a.m.

    How in the world is the death of Ronnie Lee Gardner "justice"? His death didn't bring back those he killed - it only added more unnecessary blood to that which was already spilled. The death of a person should never bring another any form of satisfaction, and I'm sure the families of Ronnie's victims aren't going to sleep any better now that he's dead than they did while he was alive.

    Of course, all of these events were set into motion by Ronnie's decision to kill 25 years ago, but there is no justice in ending an other life...

  • baguaman
    June 17, 2010 11:27 p.m.

    For those that think capital punishment is barbaric or un-Christian, I refer you to Genesis where God says to Noah that any many that sheds blood shall have his blood shed by man. Jesus Christ never once mentioned capital punishment in the new testament.

  • baguaman
    June 17, 2010 11:22 p.m.

    For those that think capital punishment is murder, I refer you to Genesis where God himself says if a man sheds blood then by man shall his blood be shed...

    Thou shalt no kill has been misinterpreted, it should say thou shalt not murder...

    Jesus Christ himself said that not one jot or tittle of the law will pass until all things have been fulfilled.

    The Almighty also made it clear in Genesis that for the life blood of all creatures he will demand an accounting... So read your Bible and quit taking things out of context.

  • Sally Smiles-a-Lot
    June 17, 2010 9:59 p.m.

    Nice article. So often the family of the inmate gets overlooked and forgotten, but they are also victims. I for one am glad they have had a chance to say goodbye, and to be able to touch one another. Im glad God is the final judge in all of this. What RLG did was reprehensible, but so were all the terrible things that happened to him when he was a little boy. How different life might have been, both for him and for his victims, if someone along the way had found a way to touch this little boy, and later young man, in a positive way, to teach him a better way to live. Best wishes to Ronnie Lee's family, and to the families of his victims. There are no winners here.

  • K
    June 17, 2010 9:36 p.m.

    The condemned man's extended family is still innocent and suffering and grieving because of the events.

    It does cost more to execute.

    If there is no such thing as forgiveness we are all doomed.

  • dark chocoholic
    June 17, 2010 8:53 p.m.

    RLG has had more rights than his victims. His victims didn't get to reach out and touch their families before they were murdered.

  • DOM
    June 17, 2010 8:32 p.m.

    All I see is a man who we know murder 2 people and how over the past 25 years we've wasted money on this guy--how much $ did the state pay to keep this guy alive--execution should have been a long time ago

  • debbie
    June 17, 2010 8:32 p.m.

    His victims families never got to say their goodbyes. The justice system has showed more compassion towards him, than he did for the victims and thier families. Actions are stronger than words. May all the families have some peace.

  • Roberts17
    June 17, 2010 8:21 p.m.

    RKC, OnlyInUtah, and The NIT: funny how easily you can confuse "justice" with revenge.

    Ghandi said, "An eye for an eye makes the world blind"

    And as a side note, NO government should have the power to take the life of an individual.

  • carpediem
    June 17, 2010 8:17 p.m.

    Complete justice in my opinion will come in the next life. It's impossible to get 100% justice in this life. That is why revenge never makes you feel good. I think people should be sent for life in prison, but I don't believe in the death penalty because who are we to take anyone's life, even if he is guilty of taking someone else's?

  • The NIT
    June 17, 2010 7:59 p.m.

    Justice can finally - after all these years - be served.

  • OnlyInUtah
    June 17, 2010 7:32 p.m.

    It's a shame the victims families can't touch their lost ones any longer. THIS execution is Justice. RLG's family finally has an idea of what RLG's victims families have gone through for so many years.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder
    June 17, 2010 7:31 p.m.

    HOW SAD. Randy Gardner reached through the bars of a maximum-security cell and shook his little brother's hand. Then he kissed him goodbye. Are them redneck Utahns paranoid, scared of prison riots, state prison inmates will be placed on lockdown as a security measure for Utah's first execution in 11 years. The Deseret News will be tweeting information from the Utah State Prison before and after the execution. A five-member firing squad is scheduled to shoot Ronnie Lee Gardner to death just after midnight, prison officials will move him to a room with a black executioner's chair on one end, gun ports on the other end and with viewing rooms on both sides, where he will be executed. Under Utah law, Gov. Gary Herbert has a very limited role in executions. He does not have the authority to commute a death sentence or issue a pardon. He does, however, have the power to issue a respite or reprieve until the next meeting of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. The request must come from the inmate's lawyers. Herbert has not received such a request in Gardner's case.

    RIP Ronnie Lee Gardner

  • Older Reader
    June 17, 2010 7:13 p.m.

    Enough of the weepy stories! His time and excuses have run out.

  • Chris B
    June 17, 2010 6:49 p.m.

    to RKC

    Well said!

  • LKA
    June 17, 2010 6:42 p.m.

    Sad his victims didnt get the chance to touch and say goodbye to their families. And this nonsense of the farm he wanted to start was garbage.. This was just for another escape route. If he was let loose today he would kill tommorow. The only thing that changed was his hairline..

  • PeakBagger
    June 17, 2010 6:37 p.m.

    I have always been very pro death penalty.

    When the stark reality of it stares you in the face, and you read lines like this, it's shakes my lifelong beliefs.... "The prison allowed the family to touch the inmate through bars.

    "He's never touched no one but his lawyer's hand" since coming to prison, his brother, Randy Gardner said. "We kissed him goodbye.""

    That's pretty rough. I hate this whole saga from beginning to end.

  • EVIL EYE
    June 17, 2010 6:29 p.m.

    Never understood how someone who has killed doesn't want to be killed.

  • grj
    June 17, 2010 6:18 p.m.

    I wish Gardner had had a fair chance in life. Physically and sexually abused beginning when he was 5? Institutionalized when he was 11? His primary care-giver (if he can be called that!) teaching him how to be a criminal when he was 14? No matter how you view the events of 25 years ago, the ensuing 25 years, or tonight, this is a horrible scenario from start to finish. The families of the victims of Mr. Gardner's horrible crimes may find "closure - whatever that is - and if that's what they're looking for, I hope they get it. I wonder. however, if Mr. Gardner's professed transformation is real.

  • RKC
    June 17, 2010 6:06 p.m.

    I have a hard time believing we have people who still kill people. If they can be Judge, Juror and executioner, without any thought or concern for their victims why do they and their family have trouble with the state doing it in the prescribe manner. Lets cry for the victims tonight and know justice was finally done.

  • Uncle Rico
    June 17, 2010 5:59 p.m.

    I wish Gardner hadn't killed those innocent people, and none of this would be happening.