Here in Utah, we have the death penalty. At least, it is a viable sentence and ten men are currently sentenced to it. However, we have not had an execution since 1999, although we do have at least one inmate on death row for over 20 years. A couple have come close, but got a reprieve. **Update** (4.23.2010) Ronnie Lee Gardner now has an execution date of 6.18.2010 – Ronnie Lee Gardner execution date set. *Update** Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed 6/1/2010 Ronnie Lee Gardner has been executed; justice has finally arrived after 25 years on death row
Here are the Utah ten death row inmates:
The charges stem from an incident that occurred on April 2, 1985. Defendant 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.
Ronnie Lee Gardner is a prime example of the problems with the death penalty and criminal justice system in Utah. Ronnie Lee Gardner has a criminal record that includes several robbery charges. While in prison, he faked an illness to go to the hospital, where he overpowered a guard and escaped. During the resulting crime spree, he killed a bartender, Melvin Otterstrom. On his way into a court hearing for the murder, he was slipped a gun (by a girlfriend, I believe) and started shooing Law Enforcement. He shot and killed attorney Michael Burdell. He then shot Baliff Nick Nirk and seriously wounded him. He was shot in the shoulder and then recaptured quickly. For this, he reached the death sentence.
Of course, this was not the end of Ronnie Lee Gardner. In October 1987, he and another inmate held two femaile visitors “hostage” for about two hours so they could have sex. Since then, Ronnie Lee Gardner has virtually held the State hostage with his “drop my appeal, no don’t!” His lawyers say he is just unhappy with his living situation. To that I say: tough luck! You are in prison, not a luxury resort. Deal with it. You do not have a right to more than what you have.
Offender Number: 114873
Offender Name: RONNIE LEE GARDNER
DOB: Mon, 16 Jan 1961
Height: 5 Feet 7 Inches
Aliases: RONNIE LEE GARDNER
Sentenced Nov. 18, 1988, for the kidnapping and strangulation of a Kearns woman in 1986. He has selected death by firing squad.
Offender Number: 113858
Offender Name: RALPH LEROY MENZIES
DOB: Mon, 21 Apr 1958
Height: 6 Feet 2 Inches
Aliases: RALPH LEROY MENZIES
Convicted of stabbing Eva Oleson, the aunt of a former Provo police chief, multiple times and shooting her in the head during a robbery on Feb. 27, 1985. He was sentenced Dec. 27, 1985.
Condemned Dec. 21, 1989, for raping and torturing to death a gay Southern Utah University student on Nov. 22, 1988.
Michael Anthony Archuleta **Update** Michael Anthony Archuleta has been given an execution date: Death warrant for Michael Anthony Archuleta signed today, execution scheduled for April 5 *Update*He was given a stay for another appeal.
Offender Number: 100260
Offender Name: MICHAEL ANTHONY ARCHULETA
DOB: Mon, 26 Mar 1962
Height: 5 Feet 8 Inches
Aliases: MICHAEL ANTHONY ARCHULETA
In December 1990, Taylor left a halfway house where he was housed while on parole after imprisonment for aggravated burglary. Subsequently, Taylor and Edward Steven Deli broke into the Tiede family cabin near Beaver Springs, Utah, while the Tiedes were in Salt Lake City. Once in the cabin, Taylor called a friend and told him that he intended “to shoot some people.” Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Tiede arrived at the cabin with her mother and her daughter. Taylor and Deli confronted them with guns, and Taylor shot Mrs. Tiede and her mother. When Mrs. Tiede’s daughter started to pray, Taylor told her it would do no good because he worshiped the devil. Later that afternoon, Mr. Tiede and another of the Tiedes’ children arrived at the cabin. Defendant held Mr. Tiede at gun point, stole $105 from him, and shot him in the face with bird shot at least once and possibly twice. After trying to set fire to Mr. Tiede, the house, and the garage, Taylor and Deli fled by snowmobile and then by car, taking the two Tiede daughters with them. The police apprehended Taylor and Deli later that day. Mr. Tiede survived the attack.
Offender Number: 52348
Offender Name: VON LESTER TAYLOR
DOB: Fri, 26 Mar 1965
Height: 6 Feet 0 Inches
Aliases: VON LESTER TAYLOR
Sentenced on June 26, 1996, he was a white separatist and an inmate in Utah’s Gunnison prison when he stabbed a black inmate, Lonnie Blackmon, 67 times with a crude knife on July 6, 1994. He has chosen to die by firing squad.
Offender Number: 72819
Offender Name: TROY MICHAEL KELL
DOB: Thu, 13 Jun 1968
Height: 5 Feet 10 Inches
Aliases: TROY MICHAEL KELL
Sentenced May 20 to die for sexually assaulting and slashing the throat in the murder of his ex- girlfriend’s mother, Claudia Benn, July 9, 1998, in Cedar City. He wants to die by firing squad.
On July 24, 1984 (a Utah State holiday) Ron Lafferty and his brother Dan Lafferty, killed their brother Allen’s wife and infant daughter, Brenda and Erica Lafferty, motivated by religious fanaticism and a violent upbringing. Their throats were slit, and the brothers later said that God told them to do it (Ron had a ‘revelation’). Dan was sentenced to life in prison without parole, but Ron was sentenced to death. His conviction was overturned once, but he was convicted again and resentenced to death.
Offender Number: 32282
Offender Name: RONALD WATSON LAFFERTY
DOB: Tue, 4 Nov 1941
Height: 5 Feet 11 Inches
Aliases: RONALD WATSON LAFFERTY
Douglas Lovell was sentenced to death for the August 1, 1985 murder of Joyce Yost, to keep her from testifying against him (he had previously kidnapped and raped her). Her body has never been found, however, he has admitted killing her and said he did so in Ogden Canyon. He is currently trying to withdraw his guilty plea.
**Update** He has been allowed to withdraw his guilty plea and will be retried February 2014.
Offender Number: 114679
Offender Name: DOUGLAS A LOVELL
DOB: Mon, 13 Jan 1958
Height: 6 Feet 0 Inches
Aliases: DOUGLAS A LOVELL
Floyd Eugene Maestas
Floyd Maestas was convicted of killing Donna Lou Bott, 72, after he broker into her home looking for money. He strangled, beat and stomped her to death.
Offender Number: 113474
Offender Name: FLOYD EUGENE MAESTAS
DOB: Sun, 11 Nov 1956
Height: 5 Feet 8 Inches
Aliases: NANUAL ANTHONY MAESTAS MANUEL ANTONIO MAESTAS FLOYD EUGENE MAESTAS GENE MAESTAS JOSEPH JARAMILLO