In January 1977, Gary Gilmore became the first person executed in America since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. His desire to die brought him significant attention and earned him a place in pop culture history.
After an evening with some whiskey smuggled for him into the prison and a special phone call from Johnny Cash, famous inmate Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad on January 17, 1977.
An excellent example of an intelligent and talented man driven into criminal behavior by horrible parents. When he was sentenced to death for murder, the Supreme Court had already halted executions in the US. His insistence on being executed opened the door for the reinstatement of the death penalty.