Utah’s Executed Men (Updated Edition)
by L. Kay Gillespie
Paperback / 220 pages / 1-56085-098-1 / $18.95
Since the days of “frontier justice” and “blood atonement,” Utah has struggled with issues of capital punishment. Years after the Mountain Meadows massacre, John D. Lee was shot to death seated on his coffin in a theatrical, media-conscious staging, while some fifty other perpetrators went unpunished. Despite pleas for clemency from the daughter of a Mormon church president and others, labor reformer Joe Hill was executed, due as much to corporate indignation as to the merits of the case against him. One of Utah’s death row inmates was the first to challenge the constitutionality of his sentence as “cruel and unusual”; another, Gary Gilmore, who was executed by firing squad, broke the ten-year, nationwide moratorium on state-supervised executions. Recently William Andrews became the second Utahn to be executed without having actually committed murder.
L. Kay Gillespie, author of The Unforgiven: Utah’s Executed Men, is a member of the Criminal Justice faculty at Weber State University (Ogden, Utah) and a former chair of the WSU Department of Sociology and Anthropology. He has previously served as the director of the Idaho State Youth Training Center, director of research for the Ettie Lee Homes for Boys, director of training for the Utah Department of Corrections, and a member of the Utah State Board of Pardons. He is also the author of Inside the Death Chamber: Exploring Executions, and Dancehall Ladies: Executed Women of the 20th Century.