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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…

Philippines: Zapanta's parents: 'Where's the P23-M blood money?'

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
The parents of Joselito Zapanta, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was executed in Saudi Arabia in December, are looking for the P23-million bloody money the government raised to save him from death penalty.

"Where did the blood money go? If they (the government) really collected the money for my son, I hope they could give that to me so we could start all over again," Ramona Zapanta, mother of the OFW, said in an interview with Senate reporters on Monday.

Zapanta, 35, was executed in Saudi Arabia on December 29, 2015 for the murder of his Sudanese landlord over a rental dispute after to the P23-million blood money was rejected by the Sudanese widow.

The victim's family was asking P43 million blood money to save Zapanta from the death row.

Jesus Zapanta, the OFW's father, said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has yet to update them about the status of the bloody money.

He added that they have yet to receive any assistance from the DFA.

The government earlier said that the money was kept in a bank account being managed by the Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia.

Senator Cynthia Villar, who granted some livelihood assistance to Zapanta's kin, said that many OFWs experience misfortune abroad.

"It is a sad reality that many of our OFWs experience misfortune abroad. When subjected to abuse, there are those who chose to suffer in silence. Some OFWs chose to fight back and ended up in jail," Villar said.

"We hope this livelihood assistance will go a long way in helping the family cope with the loss of their breadwinner," she added.

The senator said she hoped that Zapanta's execution would serve as reminder to Filipino migrant workers that foreign lands have harsher penalties for crimes and to always follow the laws of their host countries.

Several groups earlier appealed to the government to donate a portion of the P23 million to Zapanta's grieving family and to help other OFWs on the death row.

Source: Sun Star, Feb 1, 2016

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