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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…

Delaware: Dover man on death row resentenced to life in prison

A Dover man on death row for 1st-degree murder has had his death sentence vacated, officials from the Delaware Department of Justice confirmed Tuesday.

Juan J. Ortiz, who had been on death row since 2003, is now sentenced to mandatory life in prison without benefit of probation or parole.

Ortiz had been convicted of 1st-degree murder for the 2001 shooting death of his live-in girlfriend Deborah Clay.

Court documents in that case show Ortiz had shot his girlfriend with a 12 gauge shotgun while she was taking a shower and then set their mobile home on fire.

Last year the Delaware Supreme Court ruled the state's death penalty as unconstitutional. 

The Court declared that ruling as retroactive, meaning the state's death row inmates would be resentenced.

Source: WMDT news, February 22, 2017

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