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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…

Arkansas Parole Board releases former death row inmate Timothy Howard

DNA testing
An Ashdown, Arkansas man is freed from death row after two decades of maintaining his innocence in the murder of a Little River County couple and attempted murder of their child.

Timothy Howard was released from prison 20 years to the day that Brian and Shannon Day were discovered at separate crime scenes.

Brian was shot and dumped inside a U-haul truck.

His wife, Shannon, was found strangled inside their home.

The couple's baby was found inside a duffle bag with a cord around his neck, injured but alive.

Howard was sentenced to two death sentences in 1999.

His convictions were thrown out in 2013.

Then in 2015, a new trial for Howard was ordered after the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the lab compromised DNA samples.

Prosecuting attorney Bryan Chesshir represented the case 18-years later, and says there shouldn't have been questions regarding DNA.

He says the evidence was irrefutable.

"The person who testified for the DNA testified that the only way it couldn't have been him was if it had been a sibling with identical DNA," said Chesshir.

In the second trial, Howard was convicted on lesser charges of second degree murder and attempted second degree murder and sentenced to 38 years in prison.

He was denied parole in 2015, but released last Wednesday after 20 years behind bars, where most of that time was spent on death row.

Howard is currently on maximum suspension, which requires employment, periodic drug testing, no association with the victim or the victim's family and obedience to a curfew.

Source: ktbs.com, December 15, 2017


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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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