Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gary Gilmore (December 4, 1940 – January 17, 1977)

Dying on this day was convicted killer, Gary Gilmore, shot by a firing squad (1977).

Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore's final words before being put to death on January 17, 1977, by a volunteer firing squad were --

"Let's do it!"

Gary Mark Gilmore (December 4, 1940 - January 17, 1977) was convicted of killing a motel mananger in Provo, Utah. He was also charged with the murder of a gas station employee the day before the motel murder, but was never convicted.
Gilmore was the first person legally executed in the United States since 1967, ending a 10 year lapse in U.S. executions.

Gary Gilmore's eyes - The Adverts

The Adverts' second single, released in 1977.

"Gary Gilmore had spent his youth in reform school and prison for numerous delinquent activities. After being released and then committing armed robbery in 1973, he went to trial again. He asked permission to address the court, telling the judge that he had been locked up for the past nine and a half years since he was fourteen, with only two years of freedom. He argued that "you can keep a person locked up too long" and that "there is an appropriate time to release somebody or to give them a break...I stagnated in prison a long time, and I have wasted most of my life. I want freedom, and I realize that the only way to get it is to quit breaking the law. I've got problems, and if you sentence me to additional time, I'm going to compound them.

The judge told him that he had already been convicted once for armed robbery, so there was no option but to sentence him to another nine years. Gilmore was hurt and angry. As promised, he became more violent while in prison and tried to kill himself several times. That got him transferred to a maximum security penitentiary. Then, only three years into his sentence, a parole plan was worked out. He was released in April of 1976, but by July was back in prison for the cold-blooded murder of two men.
Gilmore’s story is documented in a book written by his younger brother, Mikal Gilmore, called Shot in the Heart, and by Norman Mailer, who wrote a narrative nonfiction account, The Executioner’s Song, in which he utilized letters that Gilmore wrote, interviews with many of his intimates, trial transcripts, and interviews or statements that Gilmore gave to the press. Mailer did not himself interview Gilmore, but his account relies on actual documents, with an emphasis on how those around Gilmore perceived him. There are also a few film clips available of Gilmore as he spoke to the press or to the courts, and an A&E documentary collected these into an overview of his fight to die rather then face years in prison."

A&E Biography Gary Gilmore

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