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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…

California Death Row Inmate Dies of Natural Causes

California death row
California death row
Seventy condemned inmates have died from natural causes since California reinstated the death penalty in 1978

An inmate sentenced to death over 30 years ago was pronounced dead Saturday morning of natural causes in a California jail.

Bernard L. Hamilton, was sentenced on March 2, 1981, by a San Diego County jury for the 1979, first-degree murder and second-degree burglary of Eleanore Buchanan.

Hamilton kidnapped, murdered and dismembered Buchanan’s body after she caught him burglarizing her van. He had a prior conviction for burglary in 1973.

Hamilton had been on death row since March 4, 1981.

Seventy condemned inmates have died from natural causes since California reinstated the death penalty in 1978.

Twenty-five inmates have committed suicide, thirteen have been executed in California and two were executed in Missouri and Virginia.

Eight other inmates have died from other causes, and one cause of death is pending.

There are 747 offenders on California’s death row.

Source: nbcsandiego.com, March 28, 2016

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