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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…

Women more resistant to beheading: Saudi Executioner

Convicted women sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia have been more resistant to beheading than men, prompting authorities to change the execution method to shooting, a well-known Saudi executioner has said.

Abu Bandar Al Bishi, a massive man who has beheaded scores of convicted criminals in public places in the Gulf Kingdom, said most of those brought to the execution area appear to be in “trance” ahead of their death.

Quoted by the Saudi daily Sabq, he denied social media reports that those sentenced to death are drugged just before their execution.

“Those brought for execution are not drugged..there is no medical intervention in their execution…they just appear to be in trance or half dead,” Bishi said.

“As for women, they are more resistant to execution than men…we used to behead them but the verdict has been changed to executing them by shooting.

He said many convicts make requests just before their execution, adding that one asked for a cigarette. “Of course we did not give him a cigarette…if he had asked to pray before his death, then it would have been much better.”

Bishi said he uses a gun to execute women by shooting them in the head, adding that he does not stick to doctor’s instructions to shoot them in the heart.

“The doctor draws a mark towards the heart on the convict’s back…but I shoot them in the head because the bullet may miss the heart target if the convict moves.

Source: Emirates 24/7, May 1, 2016

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