In 1977, Gary Gilmore, the convicted murderer, was executed on this day by firing squad in the Utah state prison in Salt Lake City. It was the first execution to have been carried out in the United States for almost 10 years. Gilmore, 36, was sentenced to death for the murder in 1976 of a motel clerk in Provo, Utah. An appeals court in Denver overturned a restraining order on the execution in the early hours of this morning. In his closing words, one of the judges emphasised that Mr Gilmore should take responsibility for insisting that his own execution go ahead.
The death penalty had been controversially reinstated in the United States in 1976 and Gilmore was the first prisoner to be executed under the new law. Gilmore fought the justice system to ensure he would be executed quickly - had already spent 18 of his last 21 years in jail.
It soon became clear that Gilmore had cheated death to engineer his own release. Two people received Gilmore's corneas within hours of his death. Utah medical staff were unable to explain this phenomenom, instead recommending fast-track treatment. They both responded positively, with the same form of words - 'Lets do it'.