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First US execution in four years embraced by killer Gary Gilmore

A stock photo showing bullet holes in a concrete wall


At 8:00 am on 17 January 1977 Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad, marking the end of a four year period, during which the death penalty had been officially outlawed in the United States.

Although civil rights activists had fought tooth and nail to stave off this return to capital punishment, Gilmore accepted his fate with gratitude.

Multiple attempted suicides and his very last words, “Let’s do it”, prior to his execution for murder, tell the tale of a man impatient for death’s release...