A convicted murderer due to be executed by firing squad lost his latest appeal and is scheduled to be put to death later this week, court records showed Tuesday.
Gardner, who has been on death row for 25 years for shooting dead a lawyer while trying to escape during a court hearing, lost an appeal at the Utah Supreme Court late Monday and was denied clemency by the state parole board.
A lawyer for Gardner was not immediately available for comment but local media reported his attorneys had filed a motion in federal court seeking to halt the execution because the clemency hearing had been "hopelessly biased."
An official at the US District Court in Utah confirmed a hearing had been scheduled for 7:00 pm (0100 GMT) Tuesday.
In a 57-page ruling by Utah's Supreme Court issued late Monday, justices rejected claims by Gardner's attorneys that lawyers at his trial had failed to present evidence about abuse he suffered as a child in mitigation.
The court also rejected claims that his execution after 25 years on death row represented "cruel and unusual punishment" was therefore prohibited.
"Throughout the lengthy course of this case, multiple courts, including this one, have endeavored to scrupulously ensure that Mr. Gardner's rights are protected," Utah Chief Justice Matthew Durrant wrote.
"We are firmly convinced that he has been treated justly and fairly."
Earlier on Monday, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole dismissed a bid by Gardner to have his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
The chairman of the parole board said Gardner had made no claim of innocence and the original sentence was "not inappropriate."
Family and friends of lawyer Michael Burdell, shot dead by Gardner in his botched escape attempt in 1985, had testified during a parole hearing last week that they were against his execution.
However the family of a court security guard shot and wounded by Gardner during the incident testified that they wanted Gardner to be executed, saying the now-deceased Nick Kirk had suffered years of mental and physical anguish.
Gardner's deadly escape attempt came while he was on trial for the murder of another man during a 1984 robbery.
Execution by firing squad was outlawed by Utah in 2004 but the ban was not retroactive, meaning Gardner was able to choose the method instead of lethal injection during a hearing in April.
Source: AFP American Edition