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Firing-Squad Execution Foiled By Blanks Prank
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Underscoring the need for the Utah legislature to remove the option of "firing squad" for death row inmates, Utah's latest attempt to execute Wallace J. Wilden was foiled by an apparent prank. The law stipulates that five rifleman are to take aim and fire at the inmate, one of the rifles having been loaded with blanks. This precludes knowing who actually fired the fatal shot. But in a macabre twist, all five rifles fired blanks.

"It's just sick. It's not at all funny, it's sick," said Clint Friel, warden of Salt Lake City Maximum Security Detention Facility, "When I find out who did it, I won't just have his job. We've got legal folks figuring out what we can charge him with."

Determining who the guilty party is may not be an easy task. Execution teams are very secretive; all volunteers, but none proudly announcing their roles. "We know we serve in an important way," said one, "but it's not something you want the grocer asking you about." Records show that several people had access to the weapons used in the failed execution, and officials admit that the records aren't necessarily telling the whole story. "You're just not looking for something like this," said Lieutenant Martin Ryer, "You assume if one of your fellow officers is around the rifles, he has a reason to be there. I guess we can't assume that anymore."

"I knew they'd screw it up, I knew it," laughed Wilden, "That's why I chose 'firing squad'." When asked if he was upset over the failed attempt and the delay in his execution, Wilden responded, "Nah, man, I'm in no hurry. Besides, the look on their faces was absolutely priceless. I don't know where I'm going after this life, but wherever I go, I've got one great story to tell."
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