(CN) – The 10th Circuit on Thursday refused to halt the firing-squad execution of a Utah inmate convicted of killing two people in the mid-1980s. If all goes as planned, just after midnight on Friday, Ronnie Lee Gardner will become the third person in U.S. history to be executed by firing squad since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
“In short, Mr. Gardner utterly fails to demonstrate any prejudice from the asserted conflict to his right to an impartial hearing,” the circuit wrote. “At most he raises theoretical ‘appearance of impropriety’ – a weak predicate for a due process clause in this extra-judicial context.”
A five-member firing squad is scheduled to kill the 49-year-old shortly after midnight Friday.
Gardner’s attorneys have said they plan to appeal to the Supreme Court.