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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…

Tennessee death row inmate dies of natural causes

A Tennessee inmate who has been on death row since 1983 died of natural causes Monday at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Officials said Walter L. Caruthers was pronounced dead shortly after 11:30 p.m.

Caruthers was convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon, aggravated kidnapping and murdering a female hitchhiker in Knox County.

He was sentenced to death on Feb. 8, 1983.

The Department of Corrections said an autopsy will be performed, as is required for all in custody deaths.

Source: WBIR, January 31, 2017

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