Essay Contest for Pistol Used by Gary Gilmore

Essay Contest for Pistol Used by Gary Gilmore

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The pistol used by Utah killer Gary Gilmore is being offered as a prize in an essay contest on the death penalty.

Dennis Stilson, a gun dealer and bail bondsman from Spanish Fork, Utah, said he's willing to give away the .22-caliber Browning long pistol if he gets enough entries for $108 apiece in the essay contest, a local Salt Lake City station reported.

Stilson displayed the pistol at a Las Vegas gun show in 2002, when he said he had received an offer of $500,000 during an Internet auction that year. He turned it down. Now Stilson said he hopes to raise enough money from the essay contest to open a youth center in Spanish Fork.

The pistol, authenticated by FBI reports, was used by Gilmore to kill two people, including a Provo motel manager. Gilmore was executed by firing squad in 1977, the first person put to death after the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty a year before.

"Let's do it," were Gilmore's final words.

The case was chronicled in writer Norman Mailer's book "The Executioner's Song," and dramatized in an HBO movie "Shot In the Heart."

After the Gilmore case was closed, authorities returned the gun to the owner of the Spanish Fork gun store from which Gilmore had stolen it. Stilson in 2002 said he was trying to sell it on behalf of the owner, then bought the gun himself.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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