Ronnie Lee Gardner says he's example 'of what not to do'

He asks pardons board to commute his death sentence to avoid execution

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  • Larry
    June 11, 2010 5:18 p.m.

    Did you hear the HATE from the Prosecutors, The District Attorneys during this time?
    The Judicial system is a vicious enity as well.
    It is all about Money and these People are living high on the Hog.
    The Judges are RICH and living like RATS because they make Bad Decisions at no cost to them.
    None of this is Public News.

  • CaseyA
    June 11, 2010 3:21 p.m.

    I'm sorry "patriot" but this isn't only about the victims of crimes. Have you ever wondered why the cases are "State v. _______"? We don't use State as a substitute for the victim's name. When a crime is committed, it is against society as well as the victim. There need to be consequences and repercussions for the things Gardner did. He killed innocent people without remorse.

  • MVF
    June 11, 2010 11:38 a.m.

    "I can do a lot of good," and, "First of all, I'm a good example." and "There's no better example in this state of what not to do."

    Give me a break!! This murderer needs to be placed in front a firing squad and killed, just as Gardner did to the people he killed, and this is the thing that all of our children must be taught, that anyone who kills any other people is to be shot to death by a firing squad.

  • Mike in Sandy
    June 11, 2010 10:54 a.m.

    Hey Rox...Rox Rocks!

    GREAT words.."He is scared to die, but wasn't scared to kill."

    Well, isn't THAT something? I hope he is so scared he can't sleep for this, the last week of his pitiful life.

    And his soul will NEVER see Heaven...quite the opposite.

  • LuVePacifica
    June 11, 2010 10:27 a.m.

    A changed man..after 25 years later he should be!!!
    =Never to be out on the street again=
    You shot some one and let give Death for the misery you done to another!!!

  • patriot
    June 11, 2010 10:27 a.m.

    Is taking Gardner's life going to bring peace to the victims families? Perhaps at least they won't have to see his face again or hear him speak and be reminded of his cruel acts of murder toward their loved ones. However, I wonder if the death penalty is something that really needs to be done away with and a more black and white rule on life without parole to take its place. A life without parole in some sort of facility of solitary confinement and limited privilege for those on death row would really serve the same purpose. As a man grows old his views change and his heart softens (usually) and that pain of past deeds is a haunting reminder of a failed life. Also a man such as gardner could be used to speak to less violent offenders and convince them not to take the path he chose which might help others to see murder for what it really is.

  • mendicant
    June 11, 2010 10:18 a.m.

    I agree with the poster who stated that the best example Garnder can be is an example of what can happen to you if you kill someone else - you may forfeit your own life.

    Unfortunately the case of Gardner provides another bad example: You can kill another but have your life protected for 25 years before justice is done.
    How will that example affect young people? How does it affect all of us?

    In over thirty years in Utah there have been many murders. Upon Gardner's execution (assuming it will occur) that will have been, in that time, three executions that will have taken place in an entire generation.

    To get executed you either have to beg for it, molest then kill several tiny children, or kill an attorney apparently, and even then it can take an inordinate period of time for justice to be carried out.

    Read these forums. It is obvious that almost all desire the death penalty for proven murderers, just as almost all desire effective immigration controls. As with other major issues it is clear that the USA is not currently a government of, for or by the People.

  • Rox
    June 11, 2010 10:16 a.m.

    To hateful state.

    Sorry there. We should have executed him a quarter century ago. He is as blank and remoreseless now as he was then.
    He is scared to die, but wasn't scared to kill.

    Well, he has like a week of being scared left, then an eternity not in Heaven.

  • washcomom
    June 11, 2010 10:01 a.m.

    @hateful: You may "know" Ronnie, but do you really KNOW him? Do you know the intentions of his heart, and not just what comes forth out of his mouth?

    If we take everything into consideration, and look at the "pros" and "cons" side by side of commuting the sentence - the scale definitely tips in the way of the execution.

    You said, ""judge not lest ye shall be judged." Look at John 7:24 - "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." The courts are definitely have the last say in all of this.

    If he really wants to do organic gardening, as he says, he should have all that work on paper, give it to his brother, and let that be his legacy.

  • Pollyanna
    June 11, 2010 9:45 a.m.

    I agree with one old man. Also, I am sure his victim would have liked time to find oneself, plant a garden and help troubled youth but he showed no mercy. Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

  • dandawg
    June 11, 2010 9:27 a.m.

    "I'm a changed man"--Don't they all say that? He had no inhibitions about killing brutally, and yet he wants us to believe he is an honest and sincere man that wouldn't possible lie to save his A. I hope the jury wont fall for it. If they do, the message will be loud and clear that our society is naive and courage deficient. I hope the jury has the gumption to complete the sentence this man deserves, so that the rest of us can start to believe that our justice system actually works--even when the stakes are high.

  • Liberal Ted
    June 11, 2010 9:01 a.m.


    The same way we're not allowed to judge others is the same law that your not allowed to judge us. Ever think of that? Are you above everyone else and have a superior knowledge? I say let's get Ronnie to the other side where the real judge can decide what is in his heart.

  • Liberal Ted
    June 11, 2010 9:00 a.m.

    hateful state | 8:10 a.m. June 11, 2010

    I also know Ronnie. He murdered several people cold blooded. After the first murder it never clicked that what he did was wrong. After the second murder it took 25 years and facing the fire squad to realize it? Maybe. However, the 25 years he served will never give the mens lives back that he took. 25 years does not give these men back to their families. 25 years will not make up for everything that was missed by these victims families.

    It's sad that we live in a world, where people like Ronnie murder. Most people in this world know that murdering is wrong, and would never commit it. Ronnie blames glue. So why don't you pursue the glue companies and demand that they pay resitution to these families and give them everything back that Ronnie took from them.

  • FFGump
    June 11, 2010 8:30 a.m.

    Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie...if you don't get your way, why don't you fire this set of lawyers!? If memory serves me correctly (it has been 25 years, after all), it seems you have fired your lawyers before. I have always wondered how you can fire someone that YOU aren't paying for! Between organic gardener Gardner, poster-boy Curtis Allgiers, and Parents-of-the-Year the Sloops, our tax dollars are being totally wasted, and this money could be used to raise police and firefighters salaries as they are the people whose lives are put in peril daily by coming into contact with these "alledged" killers!

  • hateful state
    June 11, 2010 8:10 a.m.

    What I dislike the most is people who speak out and they don't even know Ronnie. I have known him for 32 years. I know the remorse he feels, I know his family and I know the whole story. I am so very happy for all of you that you will be happy when he is killed. You will get some sort of sick satisfaction out of someone being murdered. If you are so against what Ronnie did, then why would you want 5 men to turn into murderer's? They will answer to the Lord. Ronnie has gave 25 years of his life and now they will kill him. I hate the crime but I love the man and a piece of me will go with him. None of you know him so, "judge not lest ye shall be judged. I would take a long look in the mirror at yourself and wonder why Ronnie's murder means so much to you when you are not a victim of his.

  • Flashback
    June 11, 2010 7:33 a.m.

    If they commute his death sentance, Gardner could still be prosecuted for killing Otterstrom. Also I would charge him with murder in connection with the death of Nick Kirk. Kirks early and untimely death is a direct result of being shot by Gardner (also how he was treated by Salt Lake County after being shot which was a travisty in and of itself).

    Garner has no concience. It is obvious from his words. But his lawyers don't have one either.

  • carman
    June 11, 2010 6:07 a.m.

    He committed cold-bloded murder. And then did it again! It is time for justice for those he killed and time for the families to not have to deal with this selfish and violent man's antics anymore. His victims never got to appeal their sentences, and there is no doubt about this man's guilt. There is no way that they "got the wrong guy". Get on with it folks!

  • Cinnamon
    June 11, 2010 1:23 a.m.

    so he was abused and had other problems in his younger life..condolense to the person he murdered=He had no remorse for his actions..As 25 years later never to be set free!

  • wrz
    June 11, 2010 12:17 a.m.

    This guy should be gone years ago.

  • washcomom
    June 10, 2010 7:04 p.m.

    @unwholly - I stand corrected.

    That tidbit still doesn't excuse Gardner. The Tribune paints a more torrid tale of his life in '85, and he did shoot not only the lawyer dead, but also shot at others, including a bailiff who remained in pain for the rest of his life.

    In '87 and '94 he still did despicable things, and thus should remain behind the walls of the prison until he is executed next week.

    May God have mercy on his soul.

  • BillM75
    June 10, 2010 6:47 p.m.

    Suess, very sorry for your loss.

    May I ask if the killer's sentence was long enough that he'd never get released?

    Was it at least some tiny comfort that his name & face weren't constantly in the media?

  • BillM75
    June 10, 2010 6:43 p.m.

    Ain't the death penalty grand for the victims' families? 25 years of hearing about this poor guy's sad childhood, and having to see his face, his name and all the details of their loved ones murders over & over & over & over in the papers and on TV.

    How about the survivors of the Hi Fi Shop having to testify multiple times at these endless hearings; for each scumbag.

    The killers become household names, even heroes, victims themselves, while the victims get a brief sentence or footnote.

    RLG did in fact have a terrible upbringing, but it's an insult to the millions who came from that or worse and became good people.

    Were a loved one of mine murdered I'd go straight to the DA & killer's family and say "plead to life w/out parole NOW so I can forget you".

    Realistically, the appeals process will never be shortened and the natural "I'd kill 'em myself" response never happens.

    Only thing I can think of is to avoid making them celebrities. Mumia's victim's widow is often harassed by his supporters.

    25 years whatta joke.

  • Billy Bob
    June 10, 2010 6:35 p.m.

    OK, I just had a few more things to say. First, I am pleasantly surprised to see that no crazy liberal anti capital punishment people have come to tell people like me how evil we are for supporting capital punishment for heinous crimes such as these.

    Second, Gardner is right about one thing: he is an example of what not to do... and soon hopefully he will complete that as he becomes an example of what happens to those who do what he did. It should have happened a lot sooner, though. He did the crime 25 years ago, the sentence should have been carried out 20 years ago at the very latest. But preferably about 24 years ago.

  • So. Cal Reader
    June 10, 2010 5:29 p.m.

    Tic, tic, tic. Interesting "death bed/firing squad repentence." So glad Gardner's finally a "changed man". Now I can rest easy knowing Gardner's a "good person"! Give me a break. Tic, tic, tic. Do you hear that, Gardner? Tic, tic. That's the clock ticking down to 6/18-- "Ready! Set! ......." I imagine this new found "repentence" will serve you well on Judg't Day-- but not in mortality. Fire!!!

  • unwholly taciturn
    June 10, 2010 5:13 p.m.

    @ washcomom
    Gardner was never a client of Burdell. (the lawyer he shot) Burdell was at the courhouse involved in another case the day he was killed by Gardner.

  • Rational
    June 10, 2010 4:35 p.m.

    There is already a quota.


    Buh bye.

  • washcomom
    June 10, 2010 4:14 p.m.

    He claims he didn't have a fair shake in the judicial system. Let's see...the first time he was in court was for a previous unrelated factor, and then his girlfriend smuggled in a gun and handed it to him, then he blew away his attorney. With all the witnesses in court, he can't deny he did the wrong thing.

    Why does he deserve to get off? He's got the catch phrases going on - Organic farming, Oprah, changed person, yada, yada, yada. What makes him more special and deserving of freedom or life without parole rather than the other men and women in prison?

    Parnes claims, "that his client was dealt an unfair hand at the onset of his trial in 1985 because he lacked adequate funding and legal representation,". That's because he SHOT HIS LAWYER DEAD!! (CBS News)

    UH - No commuting of sentencing. Period. See ya next week at target practice.

  • ST
    June 10, 2010 4:12 p.m.

    Mr Gardner, if you are sincerly a changed man then God have mercy on your soul. But you still have to face the punishment of your crime, which is death.

    From the pictures it looks like there were more than a few people there at the hearing whose lives have been directly affected. How come the story only mentions the “Friends of Burdell”? And there anti death senence view. How come we don’t get to read what the other people had to say? My guess is everyone else there is in favor of the execution. And that they will feel safer and relieved in some way after it happens. Not the "Killing me is going to hurt them just as bad," as Gardner stated.
    But doesn’t The deseret news want to print that side of the story, why?
    How come the deseret news is becoming more and more liberal unlike the majority of its readers?

  • one old man
    June 10, 2010 3:44 p.m.

    I'd be a changed man, too, if I was looking forward to having four .30 caliber bullets hit me in the chest next week.

    If he's REALLY a changed man, he'll stand up (okay, sit down) and take it like a REAL man.

  • thelogicalone
    June 10, 2010 3:30 p.m.

    I anticipate that in a week or so, Mr. Gardner will have a chance to apologize to his victims. i can't imagine organic farming being a valid reason for commuting this sentance.

  • Billy Bob
    June 10, 2010 2:48 p.m.

    I agree also that there should not be a quota. The nature of the murder is also important. For example, the Sloops committed a crime that I would say is just as bad as killing multiple people, because of how they pretty much tortured a little boy to death. To me, it seems that Gardner's crime is bad enough for it as well. One big problem with this is how long it takes for death sentences to be carried out. It gave Gardner enough time to pretend he became a "changed man".

  • suess
    June 10, 2010 2:36 p.m.

    I agree with Are You Kidding Me? Gardner and his attorney now have set a quota for murders committed in order to have the death sentence handed down? How totally ridiculous can they be? How could an attorney live with himself? I guess the Sloops can hire him if he pulls this off -- after all they only killed one little boy so that's below the quota.

    Gardner is a loser, deserved to die for this years ago. How much leniency did he give the attorney he killed and the bailiff who had his life changed until his death by the senseless act of Gardner?

    I had a sister killed, and even though it didn't bring her back, we were relieved when the perp died in prison. Daily it was agony, even though he was in prison, to think of my sister never being able to be with us and knowing he was still alive and breathing.

    Just get it done.

  • Last Stand
    June 10, 2010 2:31 p.m.

    Our society is becoming increasingly impotent in its ability to mete out justice.

  • roberto
    June 10, 2010 2:20 p.m.

    Eliot @ 12:24

    SO few words.... so much wisdom... Words the judicial system should live by....

  • baddog
    June 10, 2010 1:45 p.m.

    To answer Chad: Money for Ronnie's attorneys is provided by the state (the public) or the work is done pro bono (free).

    My conclusion is that the public is paying the freight for his appeals.

    I am ambivalent about his execution from a moral standpoint. From a standpoint of law, you enforce it or you eventually have anarchy. From a law standpoint, Ronnie is worthy of execution.

  • Shawnm750
    June 10, 2010 1:40 p.m.

    I think choosing the firing squad was all part of his strategy from the beginning. Choose a painful way to be executed in hopes that down the line society will frown on it, and put public pressure on the judicial system to prevent it from happening. I mean, if it's just a painless shot in the arm, then let it happen, but if we're going to put 5 bullets in the guy, why not stop it?

    He choose the manner of his execution, let him face up to it.

  • Are you kidding me?!
    June 10, 2010 1:21 p.m.

    I find it funny that he thinks that he should get off because its not as serious as the people put to death before, who killed 5 people. Since when do we have a quota that has to be met before we have to bring in the firing squad? If he gets anything less than the firing squad this country is absolutely corrupt!

  • Shirlee Lopan
    June 10, 2010 1:18 p.m.

    Its simple. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time! He killed. Now its his turn to be killed.

  • chad
    June 10, 2010 1:09 p.m.

    Perhaps someone with a law degree can answer a question for me: Where does a guy like this get the money for endless appeals and attempts to get off? Is it all through a public defense attorney? I know suspects are entitled to a defense attorney before they are convicted, do they get an attorney forever and ever throughout endless appeals for two or three decades like this guy?

    I would sincerely like to know who and how is this happening?

  • GoodGuyGary
    June 10, 2010 12:47 p.m.

    When he killed, he had no fear.

    Now it is his turn, and he looks like a chicken.

    Man up, Ronnie, the Sloops will join you soon (or in 30 years or so).

  • attentive
    June 10, 2010 12:41 p.m.

    First he wanted to be put to death by firing squad. Then he wanted a life sentence. Then he wanted clemency, now he wants a commutation!!! Maybe what he's going for here is not guilty by reason of insanity because he certainly doesn't show much in the way of logical thought processes. I don't stand in judgment of him as I have no right, but I hope justice is served. If there is mercy, it comes from a much higher power than the courts can give.

  • Not So Good
    June 10, 2010 12:38 p.m.

    Ronnie is getting a little desperate, isn't he? He now wants to help kids and is trying to convince us that he can be a good person? That he can still be a contributor to society? Too little, too late. I think this whole sequence of events leading up to his execution should be widely publicized. I hope we see a teary-eyed Ronnie, desperately wanting a second (third? fourth? fifth?) chance at life. That way his example will resonate with our youth as to the consequences of very poor decisons, so hopefully they won't make the same mistake(s). Ronnie Lee Gardner, what a waste.