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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

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To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

Japan: Man serving life for murder gets death sentence for another slaying

Gallows at Tokyo Detention Center
Gallows at Tokyo Detention Center
A man sentenced to life over a high-profile yami saito (darkness website) murder case in 2007 has now been sentenced to death for a different slaying committed 9 years earlier.

Judge Taro Kageyama of the Nagoya District Court sentenced Yoshitomo Hori, 40, to death on Tuesday in a lay judge trial for the murder of Ichio Magoori, 45, and his wife, Satomi, 36, in Aichi Prefecture in 1998.

In the 2007 murder case, Hori was initially sentenced to death in 2009 for kidnapping, robbing and killing Rie Isogai, 31, in Nagoya with 2 men Hori met through a so-called yami saito for seeking "crime mates."

The sentence was reduced to life in prison in 2011 by a higher court, which acknowledged the possibility of his rehabilitation. The sentence was finalized by the Supreme Court in 2012.

"It is rare that a death penalty is handed down to a defendant after his life imprisonment was finalized for a different case," said Hiroki Nakajima, a criminal law professor at Heisei International University.

According to the indictment, Hori conspired with 2 different men and killed the Magoori couple in an apartment in Hekinan and stole Y60,000 from them in June 1998.

Hori is also suspected of assaulting a woman in her 70s in an apartment in Nagoya and robbing her in 2006.M

One of Hori's accomplices in the Isogai murder, Kenji Kawagishi, was sentenced to life in prison, while the other, Tsukasa Kanda, was sentenced to death. He was hanged this past June.

Source: Japan Times, December 15, 2015

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