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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…

Georgia set to execute oldest inmate on state's death row

Brandon Jones
Brandon Jones
ATLANTA — Prison officials are getting ready to execute the state’s oldest inmate currently on death row. Some are calling his decades in jail an affront on the justice system.

Brandon Jones was sentenced to death in 1979 for the killing of convenience store manager Roger Tackett.

At 72, he is the oldest inmate in the history of Georgia’s death row.

Jones’ first death sentence vacated in 1989. After decades of appeals, he is now set to be executed on Tuesday.

The son of Jones' co-defendant, Van Roosevelt Solomon, sat down with Channel 2’s Carl Willis to talk about the execution.

Zuberi Solomon’s father received a much swifter punishment, being executed back in 1985 for the murder of Tackett.

"It's going to bring a closure in a chapter in a sense that the person who did this finally gets his justice," Solomon said.

Solomon believes Jones was the ringleader in the crime and led his father down a path of destruction.

"How is a murderer still living when my father did what he's supposed to do?" Solomon said to Willis.

Jones' lawyers are not done yet. They say his execution would be, "unconstitutionally disproportionate and excessive," saying a murder during a business robbery is no longer the worst of the worst crimes.

"It stays with you forever."

The former district attorney who responded to the crime scene in 1979 disagrees.

"This was a very cold and brutal killing," said former Cobb County District Attorney Tom Charron. "I just believe in the punishment that the jury found after a fair trial"

Investigators say Tackett went back to the gas station that night to close up and do some paperwork so he could spend Father's Day with his daughter.

That's when they say Jones and Solomon beat, robbed and murdered him, leaving his daughter fatherless. She was just 8 years old at the time.

"To look in her face after all these years and say there may be some finality to it, it means the world," Charron said.

"It's long overdue. It's time for him to make his peace," said Solomon.

Source: wsb-tv, January 29, 2016

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