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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…

China: Kiwi drugs-accused Peter Gardner could face death penalty

Peter Gardner was charged with drug trafficking after being caught with 30kg of methamphetamine in China.
Peter Gardner was charged with drug trafficking after
being caught with 30kg of methamphetamine in China.

The New Zealander allegedly caught trying to leave China with $25 million of methamphetamine is expecting to find out his fate within the next month.

Peter Gardner was stopped at Guangzhou Baiyan International Airport in 2014, while travelling back to his home in Australia with then-girlfriend Kalynda Davis.

Gardner claimed ownership of the bags when questioned – but denied the drugs found inside were his.

He said he had been duped into carrying the 30kgs of methamphetamine, and thought he was transporting an order of bodybuilding peptides including Melanotan.

The pair were arrested, but while Davis was later freed and sent home, Gardner was locked up.

He went to trial in front of a panel of three judges last May, and a verdict had been expected within a few weeks of the one-day hearing's conclusion.

If found guilty, Gardner could face the death penalty.

Gardner's parents, Sandra Cornelius and Russell Gardner, travelled to China for the hearing and were granted two short visits with their son.

After Gardner's arrest, it emerged it was his second trip to China - he had previously made one other journey to bring back the legal, performance-enhancing peptides.

Gardner's lawyer Craig Tuck says his client was coping well with the extended wait for a verdict.

"Peter is very thankful for the love and support of his friends and family in New Zealand and Australia."

Tuck said he was now expecting a verdict by the end of April.

If convicted, there would be a 10-day period to appeal, he said.

Source: stuff.co.nz, March 27, 2016

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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning