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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…

China: Arsonist sentenced to death

December 30, 2016: A man convicted of setting a bus on fire two years ago was sentenced to death by the Intermediate People's Court of Liuzhou City, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The defendant Song Yanli set the bus on fire using gasoline to vent his anger over a personal dispute on Nov. 21, 2014 in Liuzhou, Guangxi.

Eleven people were injured, and the bus was left as an empty shell. 

Song fled the scene but was caught by police three days later.

Song, convicted of arson, posed a severe threat to public security and showed no remorse, a court statement said. Accordingly, the court sentenced Song to the death penalty.

The statement did not mention whether the defendant would appeal.

Source: Xinhua, December 30, 2016

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