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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…

Japan: Killer of 6-year-old Kobe girl gets death penalty

Yasuhiro Kimino
Yasuhiro Kimino
KOBE – The Kobe District Court on Friday gave the death sentence to a man who killed a 6-year-old girl in the city in 2014.

Yasuhiro Kimino, 49, lured the first-grader to his home by asking her to sit for a painting. He then strangled and stabbed her, dismembered her body and placed it in plastic bags, prosecutors say.

The prosecutors sought the death penalty, saying Kimino showed a brutal disregard for human life.

Kimino was charged with abduction for obscene purposes, murder, damage to a corpse and abandoning a corpse.

In their closing arguments outlined at Kobe District Court, the prosecutors termed Kimino’s criminal motivation “selfish,” saying there was no reason to spare the defendant from the death sentence as he had “a strong propensity to crime and it would be very difficult to correct him.”

The defendant admitted killing the girl and dismembering and abandoning her body in the first hearing of his trail Monday, but denied he abducted her for the purpose of molesting her.

The girl’s mother told the court Thursday she would never forgive the man.

The victim went missing after she returned home from elementary school in Kobe on Sept. 11, 2014, and her dismembered body was found on Sept. 23.

Police arrested Kimino, who lived locally, the following day.

The case was tried by presiding Judge Takeshi Samo, two other professional judges and six lay judges.

Source: The Japan Times, March 18, 2016

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