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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…

Texas: Tilon Carter receives new execution date

Tilon Carter
Tilon Carter
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - A Texas death row inmate whose execution date scheduled for this week was halted because of a legal technicality has received a new execution date.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark says the prison agency has received court documents setting 37-year-old prisoner Tilon Carter’s lethal injection for May 16.

Carter had been set to die Tuesday for smothering an 89-year-old man during a robbery at the man’s Fort Worth home. 

Carter was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for the 2004 death of 89-year-old James Tomlin in his Fort Worth home. 

Carter and LaKeitha Allen broke into Tomlin's home, bound him with duct tape and robbed him, according to court records.

Carter has maintained that he never meant for Tomlin to die, that he tied him up and left with the money. But a medical examiner ruled Tomlin died from being smothered, as well as from being tied up and left in a dangerous position.


The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued an order last Friday halting the punishment because a state office that represents death row inmates was notified of the scheduled punishment a half-day late, a violation of state law.

Carter was condemned for the 2004 robbery and slaying of James Tomlin, a retired Bell Helicopter worker.

Source: The Associated Press, February 9, 2017

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