Comments about ‘The weight of guilt: Executed killer Ronnie Lee Gardner's remorse’

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Before he was executed, a killer expressed remorse

Published: Sunday, July 17 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Love Utah
Draper, UT

I'm sorry, I've had enough. Can't we let murderers lie, in respect for the victims families? They suffer enough as it is without seeing this stuff in the papers.

Spanish Fork, UT

Gripping story--thanks to you and Bishop Bradshaw for sharing it. There is a bit of Ronnie Lee Gardner in most of us, and (hopefully) many friends, associates, spouses, and other family members who "rescue" us from ourselves.


I would hope Bishop Bradshaw would publish his history with Ronnie Lee Gardner, fascinating reading. Thank you Bishop! You too Doug for writing this up.

Honor Code
Denver, Colorado

Interesting story - would be a making for a great movie!

Herriman, UT

Pretty powerful stuff.

Beaverton, OR

Sometimes we forget that the murderers on death row are also human, have a background that is tarnished with horrible events, and that they have let those events dictate their lives. Their thoughts and feelings are just as real as any of ours.

This doesn't dismiss the fact that Ronnie did bad things, but it's interesting that he finally had his own softening of the heart, and wanted to reach out to other kids before they turned their lives into a pit of existence.

Salt Lake City, UT

This story reminds me of Matthew 25:34-40.

Bishop Bradshaw's calling is not easy, it represents some of the best of Christian good works.

Port Alice, B.C.

Bradshaw does not excuse what was done. He does demonstrate the best of what being a follower of Christ would do. A couple of verses of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief come to mind.

Nan BW
ELder, CO

This is a story that needs to be told because all of us have an obligation to reach out to help anyone within our scope and means of doing so. I am sorry I have failed to be more understand and comforting to out of control students, to distressed neighbors, and to anyone else I might have helped. We especially have the responsibility to be dedicated parents. It is obvious that the parents of the man executed entirely missed the boat. My commendations to Bishop Bradshaw and the author of the article for sharing this terribly sad story that has a message for all of us.

I hope that the repentence process has continued beyond the veil.

Powell, OH

Killing people to show that killing people is wrong makes society complicit in premeditated murder. Vengeance and revenge are the real motives for the death penalty. Prison can hold murderers, we don't have to kill them. Any 'religion' that believes in the death penalty is a cult and no better than those they kill.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: washcomom | 8:57 a.m. July 17, 2011

No, most of the time it is the victims we forget. The killers want us to know how bad they feel about being executed but don't want to mention the unspeakable horrors they make their victims suffer.

Sitting on death row may soften the heart of the killer but justice isn't served when the killer sits on death row for a quarter century.

Highland, UT

I simply find the story interesting. I have a very keen interest in people, and why they behave the way they do. I don't find anything about this glorifying of Gardner nor insensitive to the families of the victims. I suppose I simply think I can learn something from the experience of others. Thanks for the story Bishop Bradshaw, Doug and DNews.

Jersey City, NJ

While I agree that it may well be unpleasant or worse for the families of the victims to come across this story, I don't believe this story is glorifying Gardner. While it is not desirable to enhance or magnify the wounds of the families I don't believe that this article does that.

Ultimately, there will be countless things that the victim's families will encounter that will remind them of the losses they suffer.

If they are to obtain peace in their lives, it will be by applying principles and tools that are just as effective at helping them to overecome the daily reminders of their loss as such tools and principles are in overcoming or dealing with the interspersed reminders of the life, or former life of Gardner, such as this article.

As for myself, I certainly benefited from reading the article.

Ogden, UT

The greatest characturistic of man is his capacity to change.

Ronnie committed vial and horrendous crimes for which he received a just sentence. Yes, Ronnie destroyed and disrupted the lives of many families for generations to come, for which he received a just sentence.

What this story conveys is that the most vial and viscious among us still possess the capacity to change.

Change does not, nor should, mitigate justice.

Change in these most debased and seemingly inhuman humans SHOULD give to all who are imperfect the hope that they too can be greater than they now are, regardless of the depths to which they have sunk.

Great story.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

"No, most of the time it is the victims we forget. The killers want us to know how bad they feel about being executed but don't want to mention the unspeakable horrors they make their victims suffer.

Sitting on death row may soften the heart of the killer but justice isn't served when the killer sits on death row for a quarter century."

1) The families will never forget. The friends will never forget.

2) Killers who genuinely feel guilt and want people to know of it typically only want others to know as a means of somehow trying to make amends. (I'm not saying it does or that they can, but that the intention isn't automatically selfish, only God would really know)

3) Justice may possibly be served in 1 day for all we know. Have men ever been murderers, horrible men, who never knew anything else than that life... and been converted instantly? Yes, the Book of Mormon even gives us an obvious example- the point? Yes, we punish them... and rightly so. But in the end, justice will be served either way. God is not unjust- which is why we trust him over man's judgement.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: runwasatch | 3:34 p.m. July 17, 2011

When a killer is convicted and sentenced to be executed the penalty shouldn't be left hanging over his head for a quarter century. Appeals should be resolved quickly and the sentence carried out swiftly. That would leave little time for death bed conversions.

Chad S
Derby, KS

Let's not forget that Gardner did, in fact, die for his crimes.

That said, I find this more of a compelling story of the LDS bishop. Gardner's change was probably sincere, and the tragedy of his life is made more interesting by the recollections of the bishop.

Randy Gardner

This last year has been a very hard for all of us that were close to Ronnie, and had to deal with another murder. We have never said Ronnie was not guilty of a terrible crime. And we defiantly feel what other families of murder feel. To wrongs don't make it right. If this is what we are teaching our children that its OK to kill someone who kills someone. People do change and I don't believe we should have the ultimate right or decision to take another persons life. Thats why this last year, I have been involved with abolishing the death penalty, here in Utah, and the rest of the USA, and around the world. Thank you Dan for sharing your point of view. Peace to all...

Clearfield, UT

Remember, remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. My favorite scripture. To Love Utah how sad your comments are. The lord said I will forgive whom I will forgive. We are required to forgive all. We all need the atonement and forgiveness. Forgiveness does not excuse or justify wrongdoing. Yes even Ronnie Lee Garder has a soul and has value to god.

Bend, OR

NeilT wrote: "Yes even Ronnie Lee Garder has a soul and has value to god." It is precisely that value that makes his crimes so heinous. If people lost intrinsic value because of their actions, everything they did would become less important. Thank you, Dan, for sharing your & Ronnie's story. My heartfelt condolences to Ronnie's family, as well as the victims' families. There are no winners in this story, except for the lessons we can learn for ourselves and the choices we make to be better than we were. If Ronnie can find his soul, then we certainly have no excuse not to. Rest In Peace means more to me today.

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