Make your own free website on

Firing Squad

The Firing squad is another form of execution made famous by the movies. Most commonly used in old military executions during the Civil War.  The victim is traditionally strapped to a chair or pike to prevent movement and reduce suffering.  A firing squad can be made up 3-6 gunmen.  The shooters aim primarily towards the chest of the condemned (easier target) in hopes the bullets rupture the heart or a primary vessel.  If the victim does not die from the initial shots fired, the officer in charge will end the suffering with a pistol shot to the head.

Although three states still have the firing squad as an official means of capital punishment, it is only a substitute for the lethal injection.  Only two executions have been carried out by means of the firing squad since 1976.  Both of these executions were held in Utah, the last being John Albert Taylor in 1996.  Utah statute requires that five peace officers be on the firing squad selected by the warden of the prison where the execution takes place.