And so it began.
January 17, 1977.
Gary Mark Gilmore.
He had murdered Bennie Bushnell, manager of a motel he was robbing in Provo.
There's reason to believe he also murdered Max Jensen who worked at a gas station.
First person to be murdered by law in the United States since 1967. First since 1972 when the Supreme Court said in Furman v. Georgia that all current death penalty laws in this country were unconstitutional. First since 1976 when the Supreme Court said in Gregg v. Georgia that some of the new, post-Furman death penalty laws were constitutional.
He was a "volunteer." He chose not to fight for his life, and he opposed efforts to fight for it.
There's been one execution so far this year, Gary Welch was killed in Oklahoma January 5.
Charles Lorraine was due to be murdered here in Ohio tomorrow, but that apparently won't happen.
Robert Gattis is to be murdered Friday morning in Delaware, but the Board of Pardons voted 4-1 to commute his sentence from murder by prison guards to death in prison. It's up to the Governor.
But that's this year.
And this week.
There have been 1278 executions, including Gilmore's.
Last year there were 43.
In 1977, there was just the one.
34 years ago today.
No, not on Gary Gilmore. Nothing new there.
But Delaware Governor Jack Markell did commute Robert Gattis's death sentence to LWOP.