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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…

Kenya: Mechanic sentenced to death for robbing woman 3 phones worth Sh21,000

Kenya court in session (file photo)
Kenya court in session (file photo)
A 22-year-old mechanic was on Monday sentenced to death by a Kibera court for robbing a woman at her house in Kaberia, Riruta.

Sospeter Simiyu was found guilty of the offence committed on November 14, 2014, and will therefore be hanged.

Together with another man who was not in court, he robbed Zipporah Wangui of her 3 mobiles valued at Sh21,000.

Principal magistrate Barbara Ojoo said the prosecution had proven beyond doubt that Simiyu robbed the victim.

Police said he cut the victim on her left hand using a machete, causing her to sustain serious injuries.

Ojoo said that Wangui narrated to the court how the accused had entered the house at 3 am and robbed her.

She told the court that she was sleeping at the time Simiyu and his accomplice stormed her house.

"They took the 3 phones and cut my left hand," Wangui earlier told the court.

In mitigation, Simiyu asked the court to be lenient to him, adding that he was remorseful.

Ojoo, in her ruling, said the seriousness of the offence warrants a death sentence by hanging.

Robbery with violence is punishable by death in the Kenyan penal code.

The law states that a person is guilty of robbery if he or she uses or threatens to use violence while stealing.

However, there is a debate on the relevance of death penalty since the last person was executed in 1987.

Source: the-star.co.ke, March 7, 2017

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