Ronnie Lee Gardner was being transported from the maximum security unit of the Utah State Prison to the Metropolitan Hall of Justice in Salt Lake City to appear at a hearing on a second degree murder charge. As he entered the basement lobby of the Hall, he was handed a gun by a female accomplice. He fumbled with the unfamiliar weapon; his guards retreated to the parking lot. Gunfire was exchanged, and defendant was shot in the shoulder. He entered an archives room, looking for a way out of the building. There he encountered a court clerk, a prison officer, and three attorneys. Two of the attorneys sought refuge behind the office door. Defendant turned on them, pointed the gun at one and then the other, and fired, killing attorney Michael Burdell.
The prison officer, Richard Thomas, was forced to lead defendant out of the archives room to a stairwell leading to the second floor. As defendant crossed the lobby, Nick Kirk, a uniformed bailiff, came down the stairway to investigate the disturbance. Defendant shot and seriously wounded Kirk and then proceeded up the stairs. On the next floor, defendant encountered Wilburn Miller, a vending machine serviceman, and forced him to accompany defendant outside of the building. As defendant stepped outside, Miller broke free and dived through a teller’s window inside the building. Once outside, defendant, wounded, shackled, and surrounded by police, threw down his gun and surrendered.
Utah courts buzzing with talk of security
Ronnie wants a pen pal!
Gardner Wants to Expand His Death-Row Appeal
Ronnie Lee Gardner’s Appeal Referred to Utah Supreme Court
Inmate asks high court to proceed with appeal
Ronnie Lee Gardner appeal 1
Ronnie Lee Gardner appeal 2
Ronnie Lee Gardner appeal 3
Ronnie Lee Gardner appeal 4
Filed under: crime, death penalty, high profile, murder, murder in the 20th Century Tagged: | 1985, death row, escaping inmate, homicide, Michael Burdell, Nick Kirk, Ronnie Lee Gardner, shooting, Utah