1977 — Spree killer Gary Gilmore is executed by firing squad

Gary Mark Gilmore was the first person to be executed after the Supreme Court decision of Gregg vs Georgia in 1976. He was convicted of two murders in the state of Utah, and acheived notoriety for insisting on being sentenced to death. At that time, the state of Utah had two different methods of execution, and Judge Bullock (who heard the case) permitted Gilmore to choose between the noose and the firing squad. Gilmore chose the latter, forbade his attorneys to appeal his sentence, and insisted on donating his eyes for use in transplants.

Although Utah traditionally used a five man firing squad, four of whom would be given live rounds and one a blank, Gilmore’s brother Mikal claimed to have found five bullet holes in Gary’s chest after his death. Per his request, Gilmore’s eyes were removed, and used in transplant operations later that same day.

Referenced in:
Bring On The Night — The Police
Gary Gilmore’s Eyes — The Adverts