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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: Nurse who murdered fiance sentenced to death

A 28-year-old nurse was sentenced to death yesterday for murdering her fiance by injecting him with insulin when he was unconscious, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court said.

According to the court, the condemned woman, surnamed Tao, a nurse at Shanghai No.6 Hospital's branch in the Pudong New Area, got into a row with the victim, surnamed Luo, when they were preparing for their wedding.

Already suspecting him of dishonesty, she became angry when he asked to delay the ceremony, which was to be held in January last year.

Between December 2014 and March 2015, Tao obtained a large amount of sleeping tablets at the hospital and bought poisonous chemicals such as potassium cyanide and pesticide online.

She also took some insulin - a substance used to control diabetes - from the hospital. Excessive insulin can cause a sharp decrease in a person's blood sugar and affect their central nervous system.

On April 1, Tao gave Luo a drink of water laced with sleeping tablets at her residence in Xuhui District.

After he fell asleep, Tao injected him with a fatal dose of insulin.

Tao's mother and aunt reported Luo's death to local police the next day, and officers soon identified Tao as the suspect.

Tao claimed that Luo had caused his own death by taking sleeping tablets, but later confessed to the murder during questioning.

The court ruled that because Tao is a nurse who used her professional knowledge to commit the murder, she deserved the death penalty.

Tao decided not to appeal against the sentence.

Source: Shanghai Daily, April 14, 2016

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