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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…

Japan: Man sentenced to death for murders of two elderly people

Gallows at Tokyo Detention Center
Gallows at Tokyo Detention Center
GUNMA — The Maebashi District Court in Gunma Prefecture on Wednesday sentenced a 27-year-old man to death for the murders of two elderly citizens in November and December 2014.

The court heard that Kazuya Tsuchiya broke into the home of Tanekichi Kawaura, 81, and his 80-year-old wife, on Dec 16, 2014, and stabbed them, Fuji TV reported. 

Tanekichi died of his wounds later, while his wife sustained minor injuries.

Tsuchiya also fatally stabbed Yoshie Kojima, 93, at her home in the same area in November. 

He stole 5,000 yen and some food from Kojima’s home.

Tsuchiya was arrested on Dec 23, 2014, after breaking into a ramen restaurant. 

He admitted to both crimes and told police he desperately needed money.

At the time of his arrest, Tsuchiya only had 100 yen on him and the gas and electricity to his apartment had been disconnected as he hadn’t paid his bills in months, police said.

Source: Japan Today, July 20, 2016


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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning