17 January 1977 – Gary Gilmore
‘Let’s do it’, said Gary Mark Gilmore as he faced his firing squad on this day in 1977.
The American murderer was sentenced to death for killing a Utah motel manager Bennie Bushnell in 1976.
Gilmore had the choice of hanging or being shot and he chose the latter.
As is the rule in Utah, and so no one would carry the can for Gilmore’s death, one of the five-man firing squad had a gun loaded with blanks in a grim take on Russian roulette. Within a year of the death penalty having been made legal again, he became the first person to executed.