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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…

Killer at Dallas-area Subway store holdup set to die in May; Man Found Incompetent for Trial in Houston Deputy's Death

Texas Death Chamber
Texas Death Chamber
A 42-year-old man sent to death row for a fatal shooting during a Dallas-area sandwich shop robbery in 2002 has received an execution date.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said Tuesday convicted killer Terry Darnell Edwards is scheduled for lethal injection May 11. 

The U.S. Supreme Court in November refused to review his case.

Edwards was convicted of killing 26-year-old Mickell Goodwin at a Balch Springs Subway store where she worked. 

The store manager, 34-year-old Tommy Walker, also was gunned down.

Evidence showed Edwards had been fired from the sandwich store a few weeks before the July 2002 shootings. About $3,000 was taken in the holdup.

Edwards is among 10 inmates scheduled for execution in the coming months in Texas, the nation's most active death penalty state.

Source: Associated Press, Feb. 9, 2016


Man Found Incompetent for Trial in Houston Deputy's Death

A Houston man accused of fatally shooting a sheriff's deputy at a gas station last summer has been ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial for capital murder.

State District Judge Susan Brown ordered 31-year-old Shannon Miles be sent to a mental hospital. 

After four months of medication and treatment, his competency will be re-evaluated.

Harris County prosecutors Tuesday didn't dispute arguments from Miles' lawyers that he's schizophrenic and doesn't understand the seriousness of the legal proceedings.

Miles is a charged in the Aug. 28 slaying of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth. 

The deputy was shot 15 times while putting gasoline in his patrol car. If convicted, Miles could face the death penalty.

Records show Miles has been committed to mental health facilities at least twice in recent years.

Source: Associated Press, Feb. 9, 2016

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