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Utah high court denies death row inmate's appeal



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(AP Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Supreme Court has denied a man's appeal of his death warrant two weeks before he is scheduled to be executed by firing squad.

The high court on Friday upheld a lower court's ruling that Ronnie Lee Gardner cannot challenge the signing of the warrant. The five-member court agreed with prosecutors that a sentence can be appealed but not an order to carry out that sentence.

Gardner is set to die by firing squad at the Utah State Prison on June 18.

The 49-year-old was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to die in 1985 for the fatal courthouse shooting of attorney Michael Burdell that same year.

Gardner has a separate appeal pending with the Utah Supreme Court. It will be heard next week.

The Utah parole board also will hold a hearing on whether to commute Gardner's sentence.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Jennifer Dobner Writer

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