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Thread: White Supremacist Stabs Fellow Inmate to Death

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    Post White Supremacist Stabs Fellow Inmate to Death

    SALT LAKE CITY (May 22) - The only state that dispatches condemned inmates by firing squad is assembling gunmen for back-to-back executions next month.

    The nation's last execution by firing squad was in 1996.

    Exercising their right under Utah law, Troy Michael Kell, a white supremacist who stabbed a fellow inmate to death, has chosen the firing squad over lethal injection and is set to die at 12:01 a.m. on June 27.

    However, Kell filed an appeal last week that will probably halt his execution.

    Kell was convicted in 1996 of killing a black man, Lonnie Blackmon, at the Utah State Prison. Kell, serving time for a previous murder, stabbed Blackmon 67 times with a homemade knife in 1994. A prison videotape shows Kell shouting, ``White power!'' during the attack.

    Of the 850 inmates put to death in the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, two have died by firing squad, both in Utah: Gary Gilmore in 1977 became the first person executed in the United States after the court's ruling, and John Albert Taylor was put to death 19 years later.

    Since 1977, Utah has executed four other killers, all by injection.

    Anti-death penalty forces are protesting, arguing that the firing squad amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. And the prison is bracing for large crowds of protesters.

    Utah's use of firing squads predates statehood in 1896 and is a remnant of the early Mormon belief that bloodshed is a required punishment for taking a life, said Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which says it is neutral about the death penalty but critical of its application.

    ``Certainly no other state has continued its use or allowed people to choose it. It's the one thing that stands out,'' Dieter said. ``It's part of the history, so there's a reluctance to change.''

    The notion that murder must be atoned for in blood has never been part of official church doctrine, and the Mormon church has not taken a formal position on execution methods, said Robert Millet, Brigham Young University religion professor.

    The Utah Corrections Department is recruiting law enforcement officers for two five-person firing squads, asking the police departments in the communities where the crimes were committed to nominate volunteers.

    The officers' identities will not be released, and participants will be barred from talking publicly about the experience.

    A hood will be put over the condemned man's head and a target will be pinned over his heart. The executioners will fire simultaneously from gun portals in a separate room at the inmate, seated in a chair about 30 feet away.

    One of the five rifles will contain a blank so that no one will know who fired the fatal shots.


    Utah has 11 men on death row. Besides Arguelles and Kell, two other inmates have chosen to die by firing squad.

    05/22/03 19:23 EDT

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    Judge comes down hard on white supremacist

    A self-proclaimed skinhead who beat and severely injured an African-American bicyclist in Salt Lake City last year in a racially motivated attack had struck a deal with prosecutors to serve about six years for his crime. But U.S. District Judge David Sam on Wednesday said about nine years would be more appropriate for David Lance Gardner, who once beat a Hispanic man to death in California in a case that was eerily similar to the Utah attack.

    "Hate crimes are not going to be tolerated by this court," Sam said in meting out a 105-month prison term - the maximum recommended under federal sentencing guidelines. He also ordered Gardner to pay $22,000 in restitution. There is no parole in the federal justice system. At most, the 43-year-old Sandy man can get about a year shaved off his sentence for good behavior.
    Police and prosecutors say Gardner and two co-defendants - Robby Wayne Baalman, 22, of Sandy, and Keith Wayne Cotter, 25, of Draper - were drinking at various bars on the evening of March 12, 2005. As they were driving away after a stop at a 7-Eleven store, they spotted the 52-year-old victim bicycling to work near 1700 South and 400 East.

    Baalman alleged in a written statement that Gardner told Cotter to "go get the n----- on the bike." "Gardner indicated that this would be my initiation into a white supremacists organization, the American Front," Baalman wrote. At this point, Gardner's version differs. He contends that "they" decided to attack the man. However, he acknowleges that he participated in the beating "to raise awareness that skinheads are out there which sent a message that these are our streets, white streets, and to show them this is a white country that whites had built."


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