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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…

Georgia: Clemency hearing set for death row inmate set to be executed later this month

Joshua Bishop
Joshua Bishop
A clemency hearing is set for a Georgia death row inmate set to be executed later this month.

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles announced Tuesday that it will hear from advocates for Joshua Bishop on March 30. Bishop is scheduled to die the next day.

Bishop was convicted of murder and armed robbery in the 1994 beating death of Leverett Morrison in Milledgeville.

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

Bishop, Morrison and Mark Braxley had been drinking and smoking crack on June 24, 1994. 

Prosecutors say Bishop tried to steal keys from Morrison, who was sleeping, and beat Morrison to death when he woke up.

Bishop and Braxley dumped Morrison's body between 2 trash bins and burned his Jeep.


Execution date set in 1994 Millegeville murder case 

A man convicted of a 1994 murder and armed robbery in Milledgeville is scheduled to die by lethal injection on March 31 at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, according to a news release from the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Joshua Bishop, now 41, was sentenced to die in the electric chair 2 years after the June 1994 slaying of Leverett Lewis Morrison, a 43-year-old Milledgeville native who had traveled from Savannah to visit his children that summer.

Morrison had been out drinking that evening with Bishop and Mark Braxley, a 57-year-old currently serving a life sentence for his part in the killing, according to The Telegraph's archives. The 3 men returned to a mobile home off Linton Road.

Bishop and Braxley planned to steal Morrison's Jeep Wagoneer. The 2 bludgeoned Morrison's head and face with a blunt object, which was never found. After Morrison died, the 2 men wrapped his body in a sheet, placed it near a trash bin and burned his Jeep.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied Bishop's appeal request in October 2014, the release said. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles will meet March 30 with representatives willing to advocate clemency for Bishop.

Sources: AP, macon.com, March 16, 2016

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