Utah death row inmate Ron Lafferty says in appeal that firing squad is unconstitutional

A death row inmate appealing his sentence of death by firing squad says the execution method Utah recently approved as a backup to lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.

Ron Lafferty argues in new court documents that the firing squad will cause a lingering, unnecessarily painful death. His attorneys say Lafferty wasn't legally competent when he chose the method at his sentencing 30 years ago.

Kent Hart with the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said Tuesday that Laffety's case could test whether the firing squad is constitutional after Utah became the only state to allow it when lethal injection drugs aren't available.

Lafferty was convicted of killing his sister-in-law, Brenda Lafferty, and her baby. He claimed the killings were directed by God because of the victim's resistance to his belief in polygamy.