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Firing squad execution announced with a tweet

The firing squad execution of a Utah murderer on Friday had been billed as a bloody throwback to the Old West.

world Updated: Jun 18, 2010 13:50 IST

The firing squad execution of a Utah murderer on Friday had been billed as a bloody throwback to the Old West.

But there was an unmistakably 21st century feel to the final moments of Ronnie Lee Gardner's life as Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced to the world he had signed off on the execution via micro-blogging site Twitter.

"I just gave the go ahead to Corrections Director to proceed with Gardner's execution," Shurtleff tweeted shortly before Gardner was shot through the heart by a five-man firing squad at Utah State Prison.

"May God grant him the mercy he denied his victims."

Earlier in the day, Shurtleff had struck a somber tone in a tweet about what lay in store for Gardner, who spent 25 years on death row for gunning down a lawyer during a failed court-room escape.

"A solemn day," Shurtleff blogged. "Barring a stay by Sup Ct & with my final nod, Utah will use most extreme power & execute a killer. Mourn his victims. Justice."