Gary Gilmore was shot by a firing squad at Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah on 17 January 1977.

He was the first person to be executed in the US following a 10 year hiatus.

Once he had been found guilty of the murder of two men the previous year he was determined to let the US justice system carry out the sentence. He criticised those who attempted to prevent the execution and even attempted suicide when the punishment was postponed.

On the morning of 17 January he was taken to the abandoned cannery behind the prison, strapped to a chair, hooded and then then shot in the chest by five volunteer police officers from behind a curtain (with holes in).

His last words were ‘just do it’.

Gilmore donated his organs for transplant. This included both his corneas. A hit song by The Adverts was released later in the year marking this occurrence.

Gilmore’s notoriety is much less for his crime but for his capital punishment and for being the first since its reinstatement.


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