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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…

Myanmar: 'Exorcist' who pled guilty to murdering 3 children sentenced to death by hanging

Rangoon, Myanmar
The self-proclaimed 'exorcist' who beat 3 children to death has been handed the death sentence, a court ruled earlier today.

After pleading guilty to the murder charges last November, the perpetrator, Tun Naing, was tried under Sections 302 and 325 for committing grievous harm and murder. 

Today, the Yangon Southern District Court sentenced him to 7 years in jail under Section 325, and to death by hanging under Section 302, Mizzima reports.

Tun Naing was arrested last October for beating 3 children - aged 3 years, 2 years, and 8 months - to death in an attempt to rid their bodies of evil spirits. He also reportedly gave the children's families and other villagers 'blessed' water and put them in a 'trance', and killed the children as they watched. Police reports noted that the bodies showed signs of being kicked, punched, and stamped on.

While the death penalty still exists in Myanmar, it is rarely carried out. The most recent death sentence was handed out in the case of Uruma, the man who was found guilty of leading the October attacks on the Maungdaw border posts. 

According to official records, the last known execution under the death sentence took place in 1988.

In January 2014, then-President Thein Sein commuted all outstanding death sentences to life in prison.

Today, those handed the death penalty can make an appeal to the Chief Justice within a week to commute the verdict to a life sentence. If their appeal is rejected, a similar appeal can be made to the President.

Source: coconuts.co, June 20, 2017

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