May 14, 1913
Carson City, Nevada
Andriza Mircovich is executed by a gun-firing machine
Mircovich had been convicted of the murder of an attorney. Mircovich saw the lawyer, John Gregovich, at a train station and said “I’ll get you, you old son-of-a-bitch!” before stabbing him in the chest and groin, puncturing Gregovich’s lung and severing his femoral artery. Mircovich believed Gregovich, who was an administrator over Mircovich’s late cousin’s estate, had not given him his fair share of the cousin’s inheritance.
Mircovich was found guilty, sentenced to death, and given a choice between hanging or shooting for his execution. He chose shooting, citing the fact hanging sometimes caused the condemned the slowly choke to death. The state of Nevada had not dealt with a firing squad execution before, and willing marksmen participants were unable to be obtained. Instead, the State had a machine constructed consisting of 3 rifles with strings and spring-loaded mechanisms on each, 2 with ammunition and 1 with a blank. Three randomly selected guards each cut a single string, firing the guns but none knowing if he had fired a fatal shot. The 2 real bullets struck their target, killing Mircovich quickly, just as he had hoped. He remains the only person executed in Nevada by firing squad.
Clipping: the Reno Gazette-Journal, November 30, 1939