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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: Man sentenced to death for mass nursing home killing

April 1, 2016: A man who attacked a nursing home, killing nine people and injuring nine others in 2015, was sentenced to death by a court in central China's Hunan Province.

Luo Renchu, a nursing worker, randomly attacked elderly people and staff at the nursing home after a dispute with the owner over unpaid wages, according to the ruling of the Intermediate People's Court of Loudi City.

The attack happened on Feb. 19, 2015, the Spring Festival, at Aixin Nursing Home, Yongfeng Township, Shuangfeng County. 

The nursing home owed Luo and his wife, also a nursing worker, unpaid wages of about 40,000 yuan (6,200 U.S. dollars).

Luo had asked for the wages many times and had been promised 10,000 yuan before Spring Festival but only received 6,000 yuan.

Luo sought revenge by attacking the home's residents with a brick as they slept in the belief it would cause the owners to lose money. 

He was arrested two days later. 

Sources: Xinhua News Agency, Hands Off Cain, April 1, 2016

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