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

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…

Singapore: Pakistani duo on trial for murdering compatriot, dismembering his body

Singapore's Changi Prison
Singapore's Changi Prison
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 2 Pakistani men accused of murdering their compatriot and dismembering his body in a gruesome case in 2014.

Muhammad Noor's torso was found in a suitcase dripping with blood along Syed Alwi Road on Jun 11, 2014. His legs, which had been sawn off at the thigh, were found in another suitcase at Jalan Kubor Muslim cemetery the next day.

Muhammad's roommate Rasheed Muhammad, 45, and his friend Ramzan Rizwan, 27, were arrested on Jun 12 at a lodging house at 6 Rowell Road, where the men lived - and where Muhammad, 59, died.

At the opening of Rasheed and Ramzan's trial on Tuesday (Nov 8), Deputy Public Prosecutor Ong Luan Tze said the men decided to murder Muhammad to recover monies they had lost to him while gambling.

At midnight on Jun 11, Rasheed and Ramzan crept into Room 44 where Muhammad slept. Ramzan covered Muhammad's face with a shirt, smothering him, while Rasheed wrapped a string made with cloth around his neck and pulled, DPP Ong said.

When Muhammad was dead, the men pocketed S$6,000 in cash they found in the room.

In the morning, Rasheed and Ramzan made 2 trips to Mustafa Centre at about 9am and again at 11.45am, where they bought 2 suitcases, an electric saw, a bow saw and trash bags, DPP Ong said.

It is the prosecution's case that back in Room 44, the pair sawed off Muhammad's legs and wrapped them in trash bags. They then packed the torso in 1 suitcase and the legs in the other, before cleaning the room with soap powder.

At about 12.25pm, Ramzan left the black suitcase containing Muhammad's legs at Jalan Kubor Muslim cemetery. He went back to help Rasheed, who was struggling with a grey suitcase containing Muhammad's torso.

They decided to abandon the bag along Syed Alwi Road en route to the cemetery, after 1 of its wheels broke and blood began to seep out of the bag, DPP Ong said.

An 81-year-old man found the suitcase hours later. Assisted by several passers-by, he tried to push the suitcase to the police station, but when they made the gruesome discovery of a dead body in the bag, they immediately called the police.

The trial continues.

If found guilty of murder, both men will face the death penalty.

Source: channelnewsasia.com, November 8, 2016

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