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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…

Thailand: Bar girl murder suspects to face death penalty

Four suspects in the Khon Kaen bar girl dismemberment case are looking at the death penalty after being officially charged with premeditated murder yesterday.

Apparently, authorities don’t believe murder suspect Preeyanuch Nonwangchai’s story that the killing was accidental and that she just meant to teach her alleged victim, Warisara Klinjui, 22, a lesson.

Preeyanuch and three alleged accomplices, Kawita Rachada, 26, Apiwan Satayabundit, 28, and Wasin Namprom, 22, face premeditated murder charges. 

Another suspect, Jidarat Promkun, 21, is facing lesser charges and may not have been in the car at the time of the crime.

The only punishment given for a conviction for premeditated murder is the death penalty. However, Thailand has not actually carried out an execution since 2009.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Tanasak Rittidejpaiboon said yesterday, “There is evidence that the suspects made preparations for the murder,” reported The Nation.

Police plan to conclude their investigation in less than three months and will oppose bail. Not that any members of any of the suspects’ families have come forward to try and post for the alleged killers.

Kawita’s sister denied the widespread rumors that her younger sister had millions of baht flowing in and out of her bank account each month. However, that, paired with the trio’s alleged drug use and possible drug dealing, spurred police to open an investigation into their finances that will go back to 2014. 

They expect to learn if the women were involved in large-scale drug dealing from this probe.


Court hands death sentence to Lat Phrao iPhone mugger-murderers


The Criminal Court today handed down death sentences to the two ex-convicts that murdered a 26-year-old man during an iPhone theft in Lat Phrao earlier this year.

Kittikorn Wigaha, 26, and Supatchai Chansri, 25, were sentenced for the robbery-murder of Wasin Leungjam on Jan. 4 in Sukhonthasawat Soi 27. The case angered the public and drew the attention of international media.

In the CCTV footage, Wasin was seen attacked by the two men who approached him on a motorcycle. The victim fought back against having his phone stolen, leading Kittikorn to stab him in the neck and leaving him to die. The pair then escaped on their motorcycle.

It was reported that only his iPhone was stolen while his wallet was intact.

Although both men confessed to the crime, the court did not commute the sentence, reasoning that they confessed because the case against them was too strong not to, Kapook reported.

Sarutta Leungjam, the victim’s sister, said that she is “satisfied” with the court sentence and that she “believes in karma.”

She added that her parents did not come to the hearing because they did not want to face the defendants, but they have forgiven the men.

Source: Coconuts Bangkok, June 8, 2017, May 31, 2017

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