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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…

Saudi Arabia executes own citizen for kidnapping; 64th execution this year

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
February 23, 2016: A Saudi who kidnapped and tried to rape his employer was put to death in the kingdom’s 64th execution of the year.

Mufrih bin Ahmed Khamis worked as the victim’s driver, the interior ministry said in a statement.

A court found that he consumed alcohol before abducting her and her baby, "taking advantage of the fact that he drove her to the school where she worked," it said.

"He beat her, handcuffed her and placed tape over her mouth. He then drove her to an isolated location and tried to rape her."

After stealing her money and telephone, Khamis abandoned the woman and child, the ministry added.

After his trial and conviction, Khamis was executed in the southwestern city of Abha. 

Source: Agence France-Presse, Feb. 23, 2016

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