The Law: A Sudden Rush for Blood

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If Gilmore is shot, five volunteer marksmen will do the job. They will probably be law-enforcement officials, though none will be from the staff of the prison 20 miles from Salt Lake City where the death sentence will be carried out. Gilmore, hooded and strapped by the neck, arms and legs to a wooden chair, will have a circular piece of black cloth pinned over his heart. Resting high-powered .30-cal. Winchester hunting rifles on a two-by-four railing, the squad will simultaneously fire one round from 20 ft. away. There is no provision for a second volley or a coup de grace, and one rifle will be loaded with a blank so that no one will know for sure that he was responsible for the condemned man's death.

Not Unique. Though the Governor's stay will prolong the wait, Gilmore may well get what he wants. The pardon board is thought certain to leave the sentence intact. The American Civil Liberties Union plans to go to court to argue that Utah's capital statute is unconstitutional because it does not require an appeal of the death sentence. Lawyers for other Utah inmates—with the help of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund, which led the long legal fight against capital punishment—may argue that Gilmore's execution without a full appeal would prejudice the appeals of their death-house clients. Gilmore's original lawyers are also pondering an attack charging that Attorney Boaz's deal on Gilmore's story violates legal ethics and the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of effective counsel. One way or another, the case is likely to go up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reopened the way to executions last July. But it may decline to hear it, since Gilmore's intent has been so thoroughly established. Even his mother agrees: "I love him very, very much but I won't interfere."

Gilmore's desire for death is by no means unique. Last week, in fact, a newly convicted Texas murderer, Robert Excel White, asked for the earliest possible execution date because he did not "deserve forgiveness." When a condemned prisoner who is not demonstrably incompetent takes that position, it makes courtroom efforts to frustrate the executioner extremely difficult. Indeed, that was the case with Colorado's Luis José Monge, who, after murdering his pregnant wife and three of his ten children, fought off all efforts to save him, and became, in June of 1967, the last prisoner executed in the U.S.

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