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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: Thai woman, 3 Vietnamese sentenced to death for drug trafficking

Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi, Vietnam
A court in Hanoi sentenced 3 Vietnamese and a Thai woman to death on Monday for drug trafficking.

Investigation found Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang, 53, from Ho Chi Minh City, learned about the illegal trade in late 2011 and started hiring several people to help her transport drugs across regional borders.

Police in Hanoi, Quang Ninh Province and HCMC busted the ring in October 2012, seizing 24 kilograms of heroin and more than 2 kilograms of methamphetamine.

They arrested Trang and 3 of her smugglers Le Xuan Phu, Phan Thi Lien, and Pornpirom Upapong from Thailand, local media reported.

The members told police Trang was the mastermind and hired them to transport drugs across regional countries including China, Cambodia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Police said the gang also hired some Africans who used money to lure poor Vietnamese women, who had little knowledge about drug laws, into the illegal business.

They are still looking for these suspects.

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 26, 2016

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