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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…

Vietnam sentences Singapore man to death for trafficking heroin

Ho Chi Minh City
A court in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday sentenced a Singaporean man to death for trafficking 2.5 kilograms of heroin.

Lee Loke Dah, 40, was arrested at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in December 2014 with a plastic bag containing thousands of capsules. 

Further tests confirmed that the drug was heroin.

The man, who had entered the country 4 days earlier, told investigators that he stole the bag from a stranger in a hotel in District 5 and that he was not aware of the drug.

Prosecutors rejected these claims. The court found him guilty of drug trafficking.

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is punishable by death. 

Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine also face the death penalty.

Source: Thanh Nien News, April 29, 2016

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