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Utah Supreme Court hears challenge of death warrant of man set to be executed by firing squad

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A condemned inmate set for execution this month by firing squad has challenged his death warrant before the Utah Supreme Court.

Attorneys for Ronnie Lee Gardner have asked justices to reverse a state court judge's order of execution and impose a lifetime prison sentence.

As an alternative, Gardner's attorney says the case also could be sent back to state court for a new sentencing hearing.

The 49-year-old Gardner is scheduled to be executed June 18.

State attorneys say Gardner has no right to appeal the signing of a death warrant.

Chief Justice Christine Durham on Thursday said the five-member panel would take the arguments under advisement. It wasn't clear when a ruling would be issued.

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