Archive for Firing squad

7 January 2003 – Congolese death row inmates

Posted in Firing squad with tags , , on January 7 by Last Writes

A firing squad riddled 15 convicts full of holes in a secret execution in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A group of inmates on death row in Kinshasa jail were removed from their cells and decamped to a military area near to Ndjili airport. A day later on 7 January 2003 they were shot at dawn and buried in a mass grave in the area. Their crimes have not been made public.

Also on this day

1913 – Albert Rumens

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Ronnie Lee Gardner – 18 June 2010

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , on June 18 by Last Writes

After a 25-year stretch on Utah’s death row Ronnie Lee Gardner faced a deadly firing squad this morning.

Following his final appeal in April, Gardner politely bit the bullet and elected to die by the very weapon he used as a young man.

For Gardner was condemned to die for killing a lawyer, after a gun battle ensued when the convict tried to escape from a Utah courthouse.

Michael Burdell was shot through his right eye as Gardner staged an audacious bid to escape during his original trial – also for murder.  

Poignantly the victim’s niece, Donna Taylor said “Mike was totally against the death penalty. He would not have wanted this; he would have said this doesn’t do any good”.

As for Gardner, words were the last thing on his mind as he refused the offer of a parting speech. 

He was shot at 12:15am in Utah, aged 49 in Salt Lake City.

Execution of the Day – 2009 (part 46)

Posted in Death penalty with tags , , , , , on November 12 by Old Sparky

12 November 1660 – Thomas Harrison
General Thomas Harrison lost his life and a lot more for being a staunch roundhead, during the 17th century Civil War. It was his duties of taking the deposed King Charles I to trial and incriminatingly signing his death warrant that led to Harrison’s execution.

13 November 1849 – Maria and Frederick Manning
Husband and wife team, Maria and Frederick Manning were publicly hanged for bumping off Mrs Manning’s lover. Swiss immigrant Maria worked as a lady’s maid in Britain. But it was a trip to France that threw into the path of her victim Patrick O’Connor. He was older than her and worked in customs at London docks. He attracted her because he had a fair penny put away.

14 November 1949 – Nathuram Godse
Nathuram Godse gained notoriety for assassinating Mahatma Gandhi on 30 January 1948. He along with other activists believed that Gandhi’s actions played to the minorities rather than defending the majority Hindu interests when India and Pakistan were split.

15 November 1996 – Ellis Wayne Felker
Ellis Wayne Felker was sentenced to death in Georgia for killing a student but there is doubt as to whether he was guilty…he also looks like Ugly Betty’s dad. Intriguing.

16 November 1998 – Kenneth McDuff
Freed from one death sentence, Kenneth McDuff was unleashed, allowing him to go on another brutal killing spree. McDuff was born in central Texas and began his life showing signs of antisocial behaviour. He was a bully, unless his victims stood up for themselves, in which case he would back off.

17 November 2005 – Elias Syriani
At 67, Elias Syriani Elias Hanna Syriani was one of the oldest people to be executed in America since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

18 November 1915 – Joe Hill
Joe Hill joked that he wouldn’t be caught dead in Utah. How wrong he was. So, what could he say as he faced a row of armed executioners but ‘fire’? And a volley of shots soon met the Swede’s instruction when he was executed by firing squad for murder in Utah.

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25 December 1989 – Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu

Posted in Death penalty, Firing squad with tags , , , on December 25 by Old Sparky

Nicolae Ceausescu

Nicolae Ceausescu

Who needs a televised ‘Queen’s Speech’, when you can watch the demise of a dodgy dictator on the box instead.

So the bullet-riddled bodies of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu graced Romanian TVs on this day in 1989. They were executed by firing squad for crimes against the state.

Good thing went at last

Ok so he promoted agriculture and trading ties with the likes of China and the West, but it didn’t take him long to realise he was on to a good thing. And the once Communist leader soon became corrupt and started siphoning off public funds in true dictator style.

Couple this with poor foreign policies and all too soon the people started to lose the faith.

The tide turned in December 1989 when the despairing masses rose up and overthrew their incumbent leader.

But that wasn’t enough. The public demanded more. Ceausescu was tried and found guilty. And the punishment was death.

Bodies of evidence

Ceausescu and his wife both faced their firing squad on Christmas morning, and to satiate the Romanians’ desire for proof, their corpses were emblazoned on tv as the ultimate Christmas present to a disgruntled nation.

And a merry Christmas to all our readers too.

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18 November 1915 – Joe Hill

Posted in Death penalty, Firing squad with tags , , , on November 18 by Old Sparky

Joe Hill

Joe Hill

Joe Hill joked that he wouldn’t be caught dead in Utah. How wrong he was.

So, what could he say as he faced a row of armed executioners but ‘fire’? And a volley of shots soon met the Swede’s instruction when he was executed by firing squad for murder in Utah. But he was had up for a crime he may not even have committed. A butcher shot an armed robber in Salt Lake City before being shot himself.

Strangely Hill turned up at a doctor’s surgery with a similar wound, saying he’d been shot in an argument over a female. It’s alleged that he wouldn’t name and shame the married woman behind his injury, and it was his gentlemanly discretion that inevitably led to his death.

During his life he’d been a political activist – a songwriter, a left-wing Labourite and staunch member of the Industrial Workers of the World. His song-writing became a theme after his death too when his life was immortalised in folk songs.

There’s even a film about his life, which was made in 1971 and he’s also credited with coming up with the phrase ‘pie in the sky’.

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8 November 2008 – The Bali Bombers

Posted in Death penalty, Firing squad with tags , , , , , on November 8 by Old Sparky

The Bali Bombers

The Bali Bombers

It was a sultry day in a heaving part of town in Bali. And 12 October 2002 was like any other day with hundreds of tourists flocking to a popular party district…that is until three bombs suddenly shattered their lives.

Two went off in by a couple of popular nightclubs, while the other was detonated at the nearby US consulate’s office. The latter didn’t claim any lives, but the former two certainly made up for it. In total 202 people died in the surprise attack.

Bin pardoned

This was a well-planned terrorist attack designed to bring misery to foreign nations – Australia was particularly hard hit – and the police immediately made links to a fundamentalist group known as Jemaah Islamiah. Indeed, Osama Bin Laden came out in support of the terrorists, saying they were ‘zealous sons of Islam’, according to a report by the BBC.

These zealous sons were a mechanic called Amrozi bin Nurhasyim and his older brother Mukhlas, aka Ali Gufron. And while their younger bruv Ali Imron went on record as saying he did it, the third Bali bomber charged with the massacre was Imam Samudra, who was named as the key coordinator.

Of course, there are other primes suspects who’ve either been killed or are still at large, but for these three men, the end of the road came today in Indonesia.

Rocky road

But the road has been rocky. Even the execution method was contested. They fought for beheading rather than a firing squad, which is not viewed as a humane method – not least because instant death is not guaranteed. And they had a point. A case that surely highlighted the concern took place in 1979 – a Thai female by the name of Ginggaew had a particularly gruesome dispatch.

However the battle was lost and with their alotted number of appeals exhausted, the three Bali bombers were put into isolation before they were frogmarched out and came face to face with a firing squad in Nusakambangan maximum security prison. Once they’d been tied to posts and hooded, they were riddled full of bullet holes.

But the drama doesn’t end there. The challenge now will be how to return the Bali Bombers’ bodies to their respective families, says For the concern is now that the murderers’ mates will be out in full force to avenge their deaths. But they will nevertheless be airlifted out and taken for burial, says Cindy Wockner for the Aussie paper, the ‘Herald Sun’.

Yet, the question also remains, is it really all over? After all, there are others still at large and there is always the threat of more reprisals…

Also on this day

8 November 1942 – Eddie Leonski

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22 September 2006 – Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus Da Silva and Don Marinus Riwu

Posted in Death penalty, Firing squad with tags , , , , on September 22 by Old Sparky
Tibo, da Silva and Riwa

Tibo, da Silva and Riwa

Even the Pope couldn’t save three men from being executed in Indonesia on this day in 2006.

Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marinus Riwa were three allegedly vengeful Catholics. They’d been found guilty of murder and inciting riots in Poso.

The riots erupted following clashes with the Muslims after three Christian schoolgirls were found beheaded. Their actions were seen as being in retaliation to that equally heinous event.


There was great opposition to the executions as there was doubt as to their guilt according to ‘Indonesia Matters’. Even a Muslim spoke out in the three men’s defence. Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) said ‘It is against Islam. Within Islam, if there is still doubt, then it mustn’t be done.’

Despite this and irrespective of the widely-held anti-execution stance, 61-year-old Tibo, da Silva, 43, and Riwa, 49, were put to death sometime between 1am and 2am local time by a firing squad in a secret place outside Palu.

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