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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…

Parole Board Denies Clemency for Georgia Inmate

Brandon Astor Jones
Brandon Astor Jones
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied a clemency request from the state's oldest death row inmate.

The board announced its decision Monday after holding a hearing on the request from Brandon Astor Jones. 

The 72-year-old is scheduled for execution at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the state prison in Jackson.

The parole board is the only entity in Georgia with the authority to commute a death sentence.

Jones was convicted in the 1979 killing of Cobb County convenience store manager Roger Tackett.

A federal judge granted Jones a new sentencing hearing because jurors had improperly been allowed to bring a Bible into the deliberation room. 

He was resentenced to death in 1997.

Another man convicted in the killing, Van Roosevelt Solomon, was executed in 1985.

Source: Associated Press, Feb. 1, 2016

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