Significant Events

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Book Signings, Interviews, current events, etc.

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  1. Governor signs law making Utah only state with firing squad

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s governor signed a bill into law Monday that makes his state the only one to allow firing squads for carrying out executions if no lethal injection drugs are available.

Gov. Gary Herbert has said he finds the method “a little bit gruesome,” but that it gives the state a fallback execution method.

The measure’s approval illustrates the frustration of some states over bungled executions and shortages of lethal-injection drugs. Utah is one of several seeking new forms of capital punishment after a botched Oklahoma lethal injection last year.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Paul Ray of Clearfield, touted the firing squad as a more humane form of execution.

Opponents say it’s barbaric and makes the state look bad.

Before lethal injections, convicts on death row in Utah could choose either firing squad or hanging. In 2004, the legislature passed a law that removed the right of the condemned to choose the method of execution and left lethal injection as the only remaining option in the state.

http://q13fox.com/2015/03/23/governor-signs-law-making-utah-only-state-with-firing-squad/

Utah brings back the firing squad, so how does it work?

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has given his stamp of approval to a law that brings back the firing squad in the only state that has used it in the past 40 years.

Under the measure approved Monday, firing squads will serve as a backup method if lethal injection drugs aren’t available. Here’s a closer look at how it works:

WHAT HAPPENS ON EXECUTION DAY?

The prisoner is seated in a chair that is set up in front of a wood panel and in between stacked sandbags that keep the bullets from ricocheting around the room.

A target is pinned over the inmate’s heart. Shooters aim for the chest rather than the head because it’s a bigger target and usually allows for a faster death, said Utah Rep. Paul Ray, who sponsored the proposal.

The prisoner is offered a two-minute window to offer final words. In 1977, Gary Gilmore used that chance to say, “Let’s do this,” before he died.

Five shooters set up about 25 feet from the chair, with their .30-caliber Winchester rifles pointing through slots in a wall. Assuming they hit their target, the heart ruptures and the prisoner dies quickly from blood loss.

In 2010, Ronnie Lee Gardner was declared dead two minutes after he was shot. He was the last person killed by firing squad in the U.S.

WHO ARE THE SHOOTERS?

The gunmen are chosen from a pool of volunteer officers, with priority given to those from the area where the crime happened.

There are always more volunteers than spots on the squad, Ray has said.

The shooters’ identities are kept anonymous, and one of their rifles is loaded with a blank round so nobody knows which officer killed the inmate.

HAVE FIRING SQUAD EXECUTIONS EVER GONE WRONG?

Not in recent history, said Deborah Denno, a Fordham Law School professor who has long studied executions. Utah’s three firing squad executions in the past four decades went as planned, she said.

But the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment, warns that a firing squad is not a foolproof execution method because the inmate could move or the shooters could miss the heart, causing a slower, more painful death.

One such case appears to have happened in 1879, during Utah’s territorial days, when a firing squad missed Wallace Wilkerson’s heart and it took him 27 minutes to die, according to newspaper accounts.

Denno said errant shots to Wilkerson’s shoulder might have been intentional to make him suffer.

CAN ORGANS BE DONATED AFTER FIRING SQUAD EXECUTIONS?

Yes. Unlike a lethal injection that poisons the organs, the bodies of people executed by firing squad remain usable.

Gilmore, executed by firing squad in 1977, agreed to donate his eyes, kidneys, liver and pituitary gland for medical use. His kidneys proved unusable because of bullet wounds.

Gardner did not donate his organs.

ARE ANY UTAH INMATES IN LINE FOR THE FIRING SQUAD?

Yes. Ron Lafferty, who claimed God directed him to kill his sister-in-law and her baby daughter in 1984 because of the victim’s resistance to his beliefs in polygamy, has requested the firing squad.

Lawmakers in the state stopped offering inmates that choice in 2004, saying firing squads attracted intense media interest and took attention from victims. But Lafferty got the option because he was convicted before 2004.

The other Utah death row inmate who could be next up for execution, Doug Carter, has chosen lethal injection. Under the new law, Carter would die by firing squad if the state can’t get lethal injection drugs 30 days before his execution date.

DO ANY OTHER STATES USE FIRING SQUADS?

The firing squad is on the books in Oklahoma, but the chances it will be used there anytime soon are much more remote than in Utah.

Under Oklahoma law, the firing squad already is the third option for executions, to be used only if the courts rule that the first two choices — lethal injection and electrocution — are unconstitutional.

The firing squad would become even less likely in Oklahoma if lawmakers approve a bill authorizing nitrogen gas as an execution method. Under that proposal, nitrogen would become the second option if lethal injection drugs are unavailable, bumping the firing squad to No. 4.

http://news.yahoo.com/utahs-firing-squad-does-071036815.html

Questions, answers about Utah firing squad as governor brings back execution method as backup.

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SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Gary Herbert on Monday gave his stamp of approval to a law that brings back the firing squad in the only state that has used it in the past 40 years — Utah.

Under the law, firing squads will be a backup method if lethal-injection drugs aren’t available.
ADVERTISEMENT
Utah and other states have struggled to keep up their inventories as European manufacturers opposed to capital punishment refuse to sell the components of lethal injections to U.S. prisons.

A closer look at how Utah’s firing squad works.

WHAT HAPPENS ON EXECUTION DAY?

The prisoner is seated in a chair that is set up in front of a wood panel and in between stacked sandbags that keep the bullets from ricocheting around the room.

A target is pinned to the inmate’s heart. Shooters aim for the chest rather than the head because it’s a bigger target and usually allows for a faster death, said Utah Rep. Paul Ray, who sponsored the proposal.

The prisoner is offered a two-minute window to offer final words. In 1977, Gary Gilmore used that chance to say, “Let’s do this” before he died.

Five shooters set up about 25 feet from the chair, with their .30 caliber Winchester rifles pointing through slots in a wall. Assuming they hit their target, the heart ruptures and the prisoner dies quickly from blood loss.

In 2010, Ronnie Lee Gardner was declared dead two minutes after he was shot. He was the last person killed by firing squad in the U.S.  WHO ARE THE SHOOTERS?

The gunmen are chosen from a pool of volunteer officers, with priority given to those from the area where the crime happened.

There are always more volunteers than spots on the squad, Ray said recently.

The shooters’ identities are kept anonymous, and one of their rifles is loaded with a blank round so nobody knows which officer killed the inmate.

HAVE FIRING SQUAD EXECUTIONS EVER GONE WRONG?  Not in recent history, said Deborah Denno, a Fordham Law School professor who has long studied executions. Utah’s three firing squad executions in the past four decades went as planned, she said.

But the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment, warns a firing squad is not a foolproof execution method because the inmate could move or the shooters could miss the heart, causing a slower, more painful death.

One such case appears to have happened in 1879, during Utah’s territorial days, when a firing squad missed Wallace Wilkerson’s heart and it took him 27 minutes to die, according to newspaper accounts.

Denno said errant shots to Wilkerson’s shoulder might have been intentional to make him suffer.

CAN ORGANS BE DONATED AFTER FIRING SQUAD EXECUTIONS?

Yes. Unlike a lethal injection that poisons the organs, the bodies of people executed by firing squad remain usable.

Gilmore, executed by firing squad in 1977, agreed to donate his eyes, kidneys, liver and pituitary gland for medical use. His kidneys proved unusable because of bullet wounds.  Gardner did not donate his organs.

ARE ANY UTAH INMATES IN LINE FOR THE FIRING SQUAD?

Yes. Ron Lafferty, who claimed God directed him to kill his sister-in-law and her baby daughter in 1984 because of the victim’s resistance to his beliefs in polygamy, has requested the firing squad.

Lawmakers in the state stopped offering inmates that choice in 2004, saying firing squads attracted intense media interest and took attention from victims. But Lafferty got the option because he was convicted before 2004.

The other Utah death-row inmate who could be next up for execution, Doug Carter, has chosen lethal injection. Under the new law, Carter would get the firing squad if the state can’t get its hands on the lethal injection drugs.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/03/24/questions-answers-about-utah-firing-squad-as-governor-brings-back-execution/

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Utah’s firing squad law reveals crisis at the heart of US capital punishment

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/28/utahs-firing-squad-crisis-capital-punishment-us

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Death Penalty Fast Facts
Posted: Apr 02, 2015 3:56 PM MDT
Updated: Apr 02, 2015 4:08 PM MDT

CNN Library
(CNN) — Here’s a look at the death penalty in the United States.

Facts:
Capital punishment is legal in 32 U.S. states.

Connecticut and New Mexico have abolished the death penalty, but it is not retroactive. Prisoners on death row in those states will still be executed.

As of October 2014 there were 3,035 inmates awaiting execution.

Since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court, 1,394 people have been executed. (as of December 2014)

Japan is the only industrial democracy besides the United States that has the death penalty. In Japan, the 2013 per capita execution rate was 1 execution per 15,809,458 persons.

Since 1973, over 140 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence.

Federal Government: (source: Death Penalty Information Center)
The U.S. government and U.S. military have 69 people awaiting execution. (as of October 2014)

The U.S. government has executed three people since 1976.

Females:
There are 57 women on death row in the United States. (as of October 2014)

Fifteen women have been executed since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. (as of October 2014)

Juveniles:
Twenty-two individuals were executed between 1985 and 2003 for crimes committed as juveniles aged 16 and 17.

March 1, 2005 – Roper v. Simmons. The Supreme Court rules that the execution of juveniles is unconstitutional. This means that 16 and 17-year-olds are ineligible for execution. And reverses two 1989 cases in Kentucky and Missouri.

Clemency:
Clemency Processes around the Country.

275 clemencies have been granted in the United States since 1976.

For federal death row inmates, the president alone has the power to grant a pardon.

Timeline:
1834 – Pennsylvania becomes the first state to move executions into correctional facilities, ending public executions.

1838 – Discretionary death penalty statutes are enacted in Tennessee.

1846 – Michigan becomes the first state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes except treason.

1890 – William Kemmler becomes the first person executed by electrocution.

1907-1917 – Nine states abolish the death penalty for all crimes or strictly limit it. By 1920, five of those states had reinstated it.

1924 – The use of cyanide gas is introduced as an execution method.

1930s – Executions reach the highest levels in American history, averaging 167 per year.

June 29, 1972 – Furman v. Georgia. The Supreme Court effectively voids 40 death penalty statutes and suspends the death penalty.

1976 – Gregg v. Georgia. The death penalty is reinstated.

January 17, 1977 – A ten-year moratorium on executions ends with the execution of Gary Gilmore by firing squad in Utah.

1977 – Oklahoma becomes the first state to adopt lethal injection as a means of execution.

December 7, 1982 – Charles Brooks becomes the first person executed by lethal injection.

1984 – Velma Barfield of North Carolina becomes the first woman executed since reinstatement of the death penalty.

1986 – Ford v. Wainwright. Execution of insane persons is banned.

1987 – McCleskey v. Kemp. Racial disparities are not recognized as a constitutional violation of “equal protection of the law” unless intentional racial discrimination against the defendant can be shown.

1988 – Thompson v. Oklahoma. Executions of offenders age 15 and younger at the time of their crimes are declared unconstitutional.

1989 – Stanford v. Kentucky, and Wilkins v. Missouri. The Eighth Amendment does not prohibit the death penalty for crimes committed at age sixteen or seventeen.

1994 – President Bill Clinton signs the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that expands the federal death penalty.

1996 – The last execution by hanging takes place in Delaware, with the death of Billy Bailey.

January 31, 2000 – A moratorium on executions is declared by Illinois Governor George Ryan. Since 1976, Illinois is the first state to block executions.

2002 – Atkins v. Virginia. The Supreme Court rules that the execution of mentally retarded defendants violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

January 2003 – Before leaving office, Governor George Ryan grants clemency to all of the remaining 167 inmates on Illinois’s death row, due to the flawed process that led to the death sentences.

June 2004 – New York’s death penalty law is declared unconstitutional by the state’s high court.

March 1, 2005 – Roper v. Simmons. The Supreme Court rules that the execution of juvenile killers is unconstitutional. The 5-4 decision tosses out the death sentence of a Missouri man who was 17-years-old when he murdered a St. Louis area woman in 1993.

December 2, 2005 – The execution of Kenneth Lee Boyd in North Carolina marks the 1,000th time the death penalty has been carried out since it was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976. Boyd, 57, is executed for the 1988 murders of his wife, Julie Curry Boyd, and father-in-law, Thomas Dillard Curry.

June 12, 2006 – The Supreme Court rules that death row inmates can challenge the use of lethal injection as a method of execution.

December 15, 2006 – Florida Governor Jeb Bush suspends the death penalty after the execution of prisoner Angel Diaz. Diaz had to be given two injections, and it took more than 30 minutes for him to die.

December 15, 2006 – Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court in San Jose rules that lethal injection in California violates the constitutional prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

December 17, 2007 – Governor Jon Corzine signs legislation banning the death penalty in New Jersey. The death sentences of eight men are commuted to life terms.

September 2007 – The U.S. Supreme Court takes up the case of Baze and Bowling v. Rees, in which two Kentucky death row inmates challenged Kentucky’s use of a three-drug mixture for death by lethal injection.

December 31, 2007 – Due to the de facto moratorium on executions, pending the Supreme Court’s ruling, only 42 people in the U.S. are executed in 2007. It is the lowest total in more than 10 years.

April 14, 2008 – In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court upholds Kentucky’s use of lethal injection. Between September 2007, when the Court took on the case, and April 2008 no one was executed in the U.S.

March 18, 2009 – Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico signs legislation repealing the death penalty in his state. His actions will not affect two prisoners currently on death row, Robert Fry, who killed a woman in 2000, and Tim Allen, who killed a 17-year-old girl in 1994.

November 13, 2009 – Ohio becomes the first state to switch to a method of lethal injection using a single drug, rather than the three-drug method used by other states.

2010 – Execution by firing squad is used for the last time in Utah, with the death of Ronnie Lee Gardner.

March 9, 2011 – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announces that he has signed legislation eliminating the death penalty in his state, more than 10 years after the state halted executions.

March 16, 2011 – The Drug Enforcement Agency seizes Georgia’s supply of thiopental, over questions of where the state obtained the drug. U.S. manufacturer Hospira stopped producing the drug in 2009. The countries that still produce the drug do not allow it to be exported to the U.S. for use in lethal injections.

May 20, 2011 – The Georgia Department of Corrections announces that pentobarbital will be substituted for sodium thiopental in the three-drug lethal injection process.

July 2011 – Lundbeck Inc., the company that makes pentobarbital (brand name Nembutal), the drug used in lethal injections, announces it will restrict the use of its product from prisons carrying out capital punishment. “After much consideration, we have determined that a restricted distribution system is the most meaningful means through which we can restrict the misuse of Nembutal. While the company has never sold the product directly to prisons and therefore can’t make guarantees, we are confident that our new distribution program will play a substantial role in restricting prisons’ access to Nembutal for misuse as part of lethal injection.” Lundbeck also states that it “adamantly opposes the distressing misuse of our product in capital punishment.”

July 7, 2011 – Humberto Leal Garcia, Jr., a Mexican national, is executed by lethal injection, in Texas for the 1994 kidnap, rape and murder of Adra Sauceda in San Antonio. Despite pleas from the U.S. State Department and the White House, Texas Governor Rick Perry does not grant clemency and the U.S. Supreme Court does not intervene.

November 22, 2011 – Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon grants a reprieve to Gary Haugen, who was scheduled to be executed December 6. Kitzhaber, a licensed physician, also puts a moratorium on all state executions for the remainder of his term in office.

April 25, 2012 – Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signs S.B. 280, An Act Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies, into law. The law goes into effect immediately and replaces the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole. The law is not retroactive to those already on death row.

June 22, 2012 – The Arkansas Supreme Court strikes down the state’s execution law, calling the form of lethal injection the state uses unconstitutional.

August 7, 2012 – The Supreme Court allows the execution of Marvin Wilson, 54, a Texas inmate with low IQ.

November 6, 2012 – A measure to repeal the death penalty in California fails.

May 2, 2013 – Maryland’s governor signs a bill repealing the death penalty. The legislation goes into effect October 1.

June 26, 2013 – Texas executes its 500th prisoner since 1982, Kimberly McCarthy, for the 1997 murder of Dorothy Booth. McCarthy is the first female executed in the U.S. since 2010.

November 20, 2013 – Missouri executes white supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin for the 1977 murder of Gerald Gordon. He was blamed for 22 killings between 1977 and 1980.

January 16, 2014 – Ohio executes inmate Dennis McGuire with a new combination of drugs, due to the unavailability of drugs such as pentobarbital. The state used a combination of the drugs midazolam, a sedative, and the painkiller hydromorphone, according to the state corrections department. According to witness Alan Johnson of the Columbus Dispatch, the whole execution process took 24 minutes, and McGuire appeared to be gasping for air for 10 to 13 minutes.

February 11, 2014 – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announces that he is issuing a moratorium on death penalty cases during his term in office.

May 22, 2014 – Tennessee becomes the first state to make death by electric chair mandatory when lethal injection drugs are unavailable.

May 28, 2014 – A judge in Ohio issues an order temporarily suspending executions in the state so that authorities can further study new lethal injection protocols.

July 23, 2014 – Arizona uses a new combination of drugs for the lethal injection to execute convicted murderer Joseph Woods. After he was injected it took him nearly two hours to die. Witness accounts differ as to whether he was gasping for air or snoring as he died.

September 4, 2014 – The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety issues a report on the controversial April execution of inmate Clayton Lockett. Complications with the placement of an IV into Lockett played a significant role in problems with his execution, according to the report. An autopsy confirmed that Lockett died from the execution drugs and not from a heart attack, but many consider it botched nonetheless because it took 43 minutes for him to die.

November 19, 2014 – A Utah legislative committee votes 9-2 to endorse a bill that will allow the execution of condemned prisoners by firing squad if drugs needed for lethal injection are not available. The bill is scheduled to be heard by full Utah Legislature convening in January 2015.

December 22, 2014 – A U.S. district court judge in Oklahoma rules that future scheduled executions may proceed after he denies a preliminary injunction request filed by 21 Oklahoma death row inmates stemming from the problematic execution of Clayton Lockett on April 29th.

December 22, 2014 – Arizona’s state-commisioned review board decides that the execution of Joseph Woods was “handled appropriately,” but that it will be changing the combination they use in future executions from a two drug formula to a three drug formula, or a single drug injection if the State can obtain it (pentobarbital).

December 31, 2014 – Outgoing Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley takes the state’s last four inmates off death row, commuting their sentences to life in prison without parole in one of his final acts in office.

January 8, 2015 – Ohio announces that it is reincorporating thiopental sodium, a drug which it used in executions from 1999-2011, into it’s execution policy. The state is also dropping the two-drug regimen of midazolam and hydromorphone.

January 23, 2015 – The Supreme Court agrees to hear a case concerning the lethal injection protocol in Oklahoma. The inmates claim that the state protocol violates the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

February 13, 2015 – Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf halts all executions in his state, citing the state’s “error prone” justice system and “inherent biases” among his reasons for the moratorium. The moratorium will be in place until a task force examining capital punishment in Pennsylvania issues its final report.

February 18, 2015 – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams announces he has filed a petition to block Gov. Wolf halting executions. Williams says the moratorium is an “unconstitutional takeover of powers.”

March 23, 2015 – Utah Governor Gary Herbert signs legislation making the firing squad an authorized method of death if the drugs required for lethal injection are unavailable.

TM & © 2015 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Gordon Swan, the man whom Gary Gilmore Burglarized stealing the murder weapon used in two slayings, has passed on.

Gordon Swan

July 18, 2014 12:00 am

Gordon Whitmer Swan

1929 ~ 2014

The Candy Man

     St. George, Utah – Gordon Whitmer Swan, age 85, was born January 9, 1929. He returned to his Heavenly Father on July 15, 2014.

Gordon was born in Los Angeles, CA to George Whitmer and Leona Ramsey Swan. He attended schools in Los Angeles. He spent a good part of his life in the grocery business starting at a young age and, later owned Swans Market where he enjoyed the public and friends.

He met the love of his life, Barbara Ann Naylor and they traveled to the St. George LDS Temple to be united for all eternity.

They were blessed with five children. Patricia Ann Swan of Spanish Fork, UT and St. George, UT, Judy (Barry) Bishop, West Mountain, UT, Steve (Shireen) Swan of Spanish Fork, UT, Gail (Paul) Kaletta of Tooele, UT, and Larry (Patty) Swan of Las Vegas, NV. Their family has grown to 41 grandchildren and 60 great grandchildren.

Gordon was an active LDS member who has held multiple callings and loved to serve. Gordon and Barbara have served a mission at the St. George LDS Temple.

Gordon has a passion for painting. He produced paintings for over 75 years. He has painted over 50,000 pictures and murals. He loved sharing his talent with others and letting all learn from him. Gordon quoted Painting is the best therapy and outlet for relaxation, I am the happiest guy ever, especially when I’m painting. He now is painting the glorious Heavens, preparing a pathway for Barbara.

“I will miss the conversations and company of my dear friend Gordon, until we meet again.”  Dennis Stilson

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Gilmore Gun III

Coming Soon revised book – “The Gilmore Gun – “Life after Execution” 

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Published on Thursday, August 15, 2013
By Dennis Stilson


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Read more: http://www.ammoland.com/2013/08/the-good-the-bad-and-the-collectibles/#ixzz2c5bf3zHk 

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The Utah-filmed truth behind the gritty story of murderer Gary Gilmore

Published July 15, 2014 10:00 am

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile3/58166113-219/gilmore-film-schiller-mailer.html.csp

Revisiting the true-crime TV movie “The Executioner’s Song,” a gritty period piece about the angry love story of convicted murderer Gary Gilmore, opens up a time capsule to the seedy small-town Utah life that served as a backdrop to two 1976 murders.

Gilmore’s death by firing squad at the Utah State Prison on Jan. 17, 1977, captured international headlines as the first execution in a decade after the death penalty was reinstated in the United States.

This week’s public screening of the 1982 movie — which was viewed by 40 million people when it first aired over two nights on NBC — comes 38 years after the shootings of Max Jensen, a law student and Orem Sinclair gas station attendant, and Bennie Bushnell, the manager of Provo’s City Center Inn.

The screening is timely as part of a national debate about capital punishment and lethal injection. It resurfaces decades-old questions about the for-profit manipulation of a criminal and his friends and family, and the intersection of crime and storytelling.

Gilmore’s last months “were expensively, exhaustively covered, covered in teams, covered in packs, covered with checkbooks and covered with tricks,” Joan Didion wrotein her glowing 1979 New York Times review of Mailer’s book, “covered to that pitch at which the coverage itself might have seemed the only story.”

Now Schiller, the controversial dealmaker who directed the film in which he’s also depicted as a character, has returned to town to lead On The Road summer writing workshops for the Norman Mailer Center, which he founded in 2008. As part of the program, he’s partnering with the Utah Film Center to host screenings of his movie, which launched his filmmaking career and earned an Emmy for a young Tommy Lee Jones’ firecracker performance as Gilmore. Matching Jones, with her own brand of dreamy intensity, is Rosanna Arquette as Gilmore’s girlfriend, Nicole Baker.

“The main thing that’s important for me in all of this is I just really hope that Max Jensen and Bennie Bushnell are not forgotten,” says Tamera Smith Allred, who as a young Deseret News reporter befriended Baker. “There are some children out there that grew up without their fathers, and I think that’s the sobering fact that needs to be held onto.”

The dealmaker at the center • Reading a Los Angeles newspaper in 1976, Schiller was mesmerized by a story reporting the twisted romanticism of Gilmore and his young girlfriend’s suicide pact. That’s when the then-photographer committed himself to telling Gilmore’s history — for history.

Schiller described himself as an entrepreneur — an aggressive Fuller Brush man or Avon lady — when he parachuted into Utah and for $75,000 sewed up exclusive interview rights with Gilmore, his family and associates, angering local journalists. He, along with Gilmore’s uncle and lawyers, was an eyewitness to the execution; reporters had to wait outside. Only five people invited by Gilmore were allowed to view the execution, in keeping with prison policy at the time, Schiller says now.

Former Associated Press bureau chief Bill Beecham, now 10 years into retirement, still steams about the questionable ethics of that decision by state officials. “If I were bureau chief then, I would have gone to the governor in a shouting match, because it was so unnecessary to ban the media,” he says.

In the months Schiller spent interviewing people in Utah, he generated enough material to keep four transcriptionists busy. He wanted the best writer he could find to turn his material over to. It was the violence embedded in Gilmore’s story that piqued Norman Mailer’s interest; he and Schiller had previously worked together on a biography of Marilyn Monroe.

“I was a little bit controversial and crazy myself, not only the high profile of the project. I do migrate to antisocial behavior and stories, and this certainly is a story of antisocial behavior,” says Schiller before explaining how he later embedded himself in O.J. Simpson’s defense team and subsequently co-wrote an account of the case, “An American Tragedy,” published in 1996.

During “The Executioner’s Song” years, his attention to detail sometimes drove his collaborators crazy, Schiller admits, recounting the four ways he interrogated Gilmore — via face-to-face conversations, phone interviews, sending questions through his lawyers, and asking him to write out his responses — to see if the prisoner’s answers were consistent. They were, Schiller says now. The only thing Gilmore consistently refused to talk about was his mother, Bessie.

“Mailer screamed at me once: ‘Stop interviewing. I’ve got too much.’ And I said: ‘Who knows? I might find something to replace what you have,’ ” Schiller says.

The jailhouse suicide pact • Tamera Smith was a stringer for the Deseret News’ Utah County bureau when she was assigned to cover Gary Gilmore’s arraignment. At the hearing, at a time before enhanced courtroom security, Smith watched Gilmore, who was manacled, lean over and kiss his girlfriend, Nicole Baker.

After the arraignment, Smith approached Baker and asked her if she wanted to grab a bite to eat, and the pair talked for several hours. “My first connection to her was as a human,” Smith says of Baker, who was then 19, with three failed marriages and two children, while the reporter was 22. “Honestly, I felt a little sorry for her.”

Four months later, Smith was working in the paper’s Davis County bureau when a colleague assigned to the Gilmore story couldn’t get Baker to agree to an interview. This was in November, just days before Gilmore’s first scheduled execution date. The reporter handed the phone to Smith; Baker remembered her, then agreed to a 45-minute interview, which extended into a six-hour conversation.

Her editor assigned Smith to hang out with Baker and not lose the coveted exclusive. In extended conversations, Baker asked Smith if she’d like to see Gilmore’s artwork or read any of the 100 letters — that added up to more than 1,000 pages — he had sent from prison.

Smith suspected something was up and asked Baker directly if she was planning to commit suicide. Baker revealed that she and Gilmore had a suicide pact, and agreed to let Smith print a story after the execution. That permission seemed casually granted from a woman who had worked so hard to avoid reporters, and Smith realized the couple’s plans were set for the morning of his scheduled execution date (which would be stayed). “On the day of my story, she thought they would both be dead,” Smith says.

Smith told her editors, and they alerted authorities. Smith worked through the night drafting her stories, then learned through a brief on the wire that Nicole and Gilmore had each attempted suicide and were recovering at different hospitals. Smith broke the news of the suicide pact in copyrighted accounts, filled with quotes from Gilmore’s letters, published in the Deseret News on Nov. 15 and 16, 1976. (“They did stop the presses,” she says.)

Shortly afterward, Smith, now Allred, left the paper and moved to the Pacific Northwest, where she married and had six daughters. She freelanced and wrote a weekly newspaper column, but went on to become a therapist. “I went from reporting stories to helping people work through their stories,” she says.

Over the years, Allred heard sporadically from Baker, who had found her way to a more stable life, initially due to money she received from Schiller and Mailer. Allred cooperated with the writer but wasn’t thrilled with the title of the chapter about how she gained Baker’s trust: “Sob Sisters.”

It took Allred years to understand how deeply she had been affected by her small role in the story. “Covering the Gilmore story exposed me to a very dark side of life, resulting in reoccurring intrusive thoughts, despair, and after the story was over, depression,” she says. “It also triggered memories and feelings associated with the death of both of my parents while I was young.”

Getting the tattoos right • As a period piece, “Executioner’s Song” reveals remarkable access in scenes shot on location at the Utah State Prison, the Supreme Court, the Board of Pardons and Parole, and at the murder scenes. “It smells better, it feels better, it comes alive,” says Schiller of the art of reality.

For the film, Schiller hired local crews and extras to work under noted British cinematographer Freddie Francis, who had recently shot “The Elephant Man.” Utah film crews were able to make contributions to a staff that included British and Hollywood filmmakers, Reed Smoot recalls.

That state officials were willing to cooperate with the film crew was in homage to Mailer’s book, Schiller says. “They were saying he treated us in a literary manner that was proper, and they were going to treat the film in the same way.”

Several prison guards played themselves in the movie, as did Gilmore attorney Bob Moody and Roman Catholic prison chaplain the Rev. Thomas Meersman. Allred was an extra in one of the scenes of scrums of reporters, and she remembers playing Old Maid with other extras as they waited on set at the prison.

Here’s an example of the filmmaker’s attention to accuracy: One of Gilmore’s buddies was hired as a consultant to the film, but he couldn’t remember which arm held Gilmore’s tattoo. If the man’s best friend couldn’t remember, why would it matter? It mattered to Schiller, who admits that his ego was involved in shooting his first film. So Tom Lefler, who worked for the Utah State Film Commission, was sent to the Medical Examiner’s office to view autopsy slides of Gilmore’s body.

Brian Sullivan, a local filmmaker who also worked on the second camera crew, recalls the setup of a scene where Jones, as Gilmore, is playing poker. Schiller launched into a tirade because the actors were holding the wrong cards, even though the camera wasn’t recording the cards.

“I’ve made a lot of movies, and I’ve never seen anybody get so particular about every little detail,” Sullivan says.

Shooting on the location of murders, just five years later, made some of the Utahns on the set nervous while the filming opened up barely closed wounds for neighborhood residents. “Many times,” Smoot says, “it felt like I was working on a documentary, rather than a scripted narrative film.”

ellenf@sltrib.com

facebook.com/ellen.weist —

Screening the truth of Gary Gilmore’s story

The Norman Mailer Center is holding summer writing workshops in Salt Lake City in honor of the setting of Mailer’s 1979 book, “The Executioner’s Song,” about Gary Gilmore. As part of the programming, the Mailer Center and the Utah Film Center are holding a screening of the 1982 TV film adaptation, which was shot on location in Utah. It stars Tommy Lee Jones, Rosanna Arquette and Christine Lahti. All events are free.

When • Wednesday, July 16: pre-film panel at 2 p.m., screening at 4 p.m., post-film Q&A with director Lawrence Schiller at 6:30 p.m.

Where • Utah Valley University Library 120, 800 W. University Parkway, Orem

When • Friday, July 18, 7 p.m.

Where • Salt Lake Main Library, 200 E. 400 South

Also • A post-film discussion will be hosted by KUER’s Doug Fabrizio with panelists: former Salt Lake Tribune editorial-page editor Vern Anderson, former Associated Press Bureau Chief Bill Beecham, former Deseret News reporter Tamera Smith Allred, Gilmore’s attorney Robert Moody and film director Lawrence Schiller.

The Mailer Center Faculty Readings

Jeffery Renard Allen, Quincy Troupe and Lawrence Schiller, writers and faculty members of the Salt Lake City workshops of The Mailer Center’s On the Road program, will read from their works.

When • Thursday, July 17, 7 p.m.

Where • The King’s English Bookshop, 1510 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake Cit

ATTENTION –  IN  RESPONSE to your inquiries of the production and release of the documentary movie, it has been delayed. Sorry but a large amount of video was lost due to a corrupted hard drive. Also the producer has ceased this and any further projects due to personal issues. Open to offers. 

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May 2013 – While promoting the book in Las Vegas I visited some indoor shooting ranges. They were all friendly and accommodating facilities and are listed in no particular order. Thanks to all for the experience and hospitality. Click on the links below to see what they offer and what appeals to you.

The Range – http://www.therange702.com/

Jessi, the lovely lady below, was very friendly and helpful. You may have seen her on Sons of Guns and other gun related tv shows.       range Jessirange 5

range 1

  MGV – http://machinegunsvegas.com/

Eyves was my friendly and knowledgeable guide at this nice facility.

mgv4

 

 

 

mgv2

V.I. P. Lounge

mgv3

Guns and Ammo garage – http://gunsandammogarage.com/

The staff here was very friendly and helpful, as you can see, and they even bought me lunch.

gun and ammo 1

 

 

The Gun Store – http://thegunstorelasvegas.com/

While at the Gun Store I met with Tony Dee you may recognize him from the television show Pawn Stars where he has advised regularly as a firearm expert.  Tony is also a well respected gun smith.Tony  gun store

 

 

 

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The Gilmore Gun – The Firearm that Brought Back the Death Penalty

Published on Friday, April 12, 2013

The-Gilmore-Gun Ammoland

 

 

 

 

Read more at Ammoland.com: http://www.ammoland.com/2013/04/the-gilmore-gun-the-firearm-that-brought-back-the-death-penalty/#ixzz2QGvsR5t4

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Rod and Dennis

 Rod Arquette hosts Gunstock at Thanksgiving Point. March 16, 2013 Rod Arquette and Dennis Stilson at Gunstock. Listen to Rod weekdays at 105.7  4-7pm for the right point of view.

Utah Guns and Gun Rights Across America joined forces to present GUNSTOCK, a Second Amendment Celebration and Salute to our Sheriffs featuring Madison Rising and a special Sons of Utah presentation to our Utah Sheriffs. And introducing our keynote speaker: US Rep. Chris Stewart.

______________________________________________________

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkGYGGtoDOgWhat is the value of the Gilmore Gun?

Value of the Gilmore Gun

Book Signing by Dennis Stilson – Sep. 7,8,9  2012 at The Outdoorsman Expo in the TRAC center Pasco, Washington. See – http://www.outdoorsmanexpo.com/index.php

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Television interview with Dennis Stilson – click here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhteefSORc&feature=youtu.be

You tube photo

Leno and I

Jay Leno and Dennis Stilson. Jay Leno an experienced comedian and host gave a very impressive show. “I was amazed at his flawless  performance,  thanks Jay, I hope you enjoy my book.” Dennis Stilson

Speaking of historical guns see The Five Guns that changed History  at the following link.  http://www.mandatory.com/2012/05/13/5-guns-that-changed-history/#photo=4


______________________________________________________

May 22, 2012 – Warren Newman – Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum and Dennis Stilson holding a very rare firearm. A custom built Winchester model 94 rifle designed for Ronald Reagan with gold inlays depicting achievements of his life. www.bbhc.org “This was  a very special visit for me, thanks very much Warren.” – Dennis Stilson

The “Dug up gun museum”

If ever in Cody, Wy. this is a must see stop.  Thank you,
Hans & Eva Kurth, Owners  www.­codydugupgunmuse­um.­com

May 21, 2012 – Jackson, Wy. Dennis did a live radio talk show with interviewer Steve Ware KZJH, after the interview was a booksigning at Cutty’s with the lovely manager Dawn. This is a fun place to visit if in Jackson, Wy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dennis Miller & Dennis Stilson. While promoting in Nevada we enjoyed Dennis Miller doing comedy only the way he can. “I enjoy and admire Dennis Millers’ vocabulary.” Dennis Stilson.They shot the photo before I could smile and no one sent us a memo on our attire. “Thanks, Dennis Miller I hope you enjoy my book.”

______________________________________________________

Dennis Stilson will be the guest speaker on The Paul Drockton Show part of the Rense radio network.  3pm MST April 4, 2012.  Listen to Paul at http://www.moneyteachers.org/Radio.htm

Book Signing & exhibit at  The Las Vegas Gun Show  Sports Center 121 East Sunset Rd.  Las Vegas,Nevada     Dec. 17th & 18th 2011

This was a fun show, we filmed video for a documentary and talked with veteran Claude Hall the owner of the OKC and the Las Vegas gun shows for 34 years.

Glen Parshall from The Real Deal Show on the history channel commented on the Gilmore Gun

 

 Wyatt M. Earp the grandson of the famous Wyatt Earp told entertaining stories of his grandfather.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

______________________________________________________

Book Signing –  Sat. Oct. 8th 2011  at The Hedderick’s Store 122 Main St. – Williston, North Dakota 11am – 5pm

______________________________________________________

Featured Book of the month at the following site! Check it out and join.

http://bookwormsunite.wetpaint.com/page/BWHS+Featured+Book

      Click here- For the record  Guns are Good”        _____________________________________

Podcasts – The Gun Dudes

www.gundudes.com/Home_Page_ETY8.html –  www.gundudes.com

GunDudesEpisode 70 11-21-09. Today we interviewed Dennis Stilson, the author of the Gilmore Gun

______________________________________________________

http://theinformer881.podbean.com/2010/01/12/the-informer-january-11-2009/?nomobile

Our guest was Dennis Stilson, author of the book “The Gilmore Gun.”  He chatted about the case of Gary Gilmore, murderer and the first person executed after the end of the death penalty ban.  We also learned about the gun used in the murder, which Dennis turned down a $500,000 offer for.  Later, he told us about the challenges and experience of independently publishing a book.

______________________________________________________

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1457639/posts

5pm EST – Live  Fire with Larry Pratt from Gun owners of America – Dennis Stilson – The Gilmore Gun and I  (a murder and the restoration of capital punishment.

______________________________________________________

Dennis Stilson July 19th Guest speaker on “Turn
the Page” Spanish Fork, Ut. Channel 17 cable

Dennis Silson July 12th Guest speaker on Talk
Radio KSVC  and Book Signing at Quality Inn 540 S. Main Richfield, Ut. 5-7pm

Saturday May 8th, 2010 – 9am – noon at
Monarch Honda 398 W. 800 N. Orem, Ut. “The Gilmore Gun Exhibit” and book signing by
author Dennis R. Stilson featuring the new book “The Gilmore Gun – Echo of Murder”  with
proceeds going to the 2nd annual “Bike to Build” ride for the
Habitat for Humanity of Utah County” For more info see www.habitatuc.org

Shot Show Jan. 19-22, 2010  Sands Expo & Convention Center                      Las Vegas, Nevada  Celebrity Appearances  North American Arm  Booth  Dennis R. Stilson will be discussing and signing his new book. “The Gilmore Gun – Echo of Murder”     Jan. 19 & 20 1-3pm

Book Signing  Dec. 22nd 11am – 8pm
Eborn Books Towne Centre Mall
Provo, Ut. 84601

Book Signing 12-21-09 12pm- 6pm
Eborn Books
Valley Fair Mall
3601 Constitution Boulevard Suite B120
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

Book signing  Dec. 19th 11am-5pm at Eborn Books 
Towne Centre Mall

Provo, Ut. 84601

Fri. Nov. 20th. Book Fair and
signing  at Usana
http://www.usana.com/dotCom/index.jsp 3838 West Parkway Boulevard Salt Lake City, UT

Pod cast GunDudesEpisode #70 on 11-21-09

Dennis R. Stilson guest speaker on “Live Fire” hosted by Larry Pratt executive director of GOA – Gun Owners of America

“Spot Light” cable tv programming Channel 17
Spanish Fork, Ut.

“The Sports Show”  AM Talk radio SLC, Ut.

“Becoming the worlds most famous firearm”


 

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