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

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…

Ex-Security Guard To Hang For Murdering Woman, Copulating With Corpse

The convicted murderer of Perak Veterinary Department deputy director Dr Rohani Kassim lost his final bid to escape the gallows after the Federal Court dismissed his appeal against his conviction and death sentence.

In handing down the verdict on Syahmie Hassan, a 5-man bench led by Tun Md Raus Sharif unanimously ruled that after reading the evidence adduced during the trial, they found that there was no reason to interfere with the Court of Appeal's decision which upheld the appellant's conviction and sentence.

Syahmie, 27, a former security guard who had murdered the victim and copulated with the body, was found guilty of the offence by the Ipoh High Court in Perak on July 31, 2015, and was sentenced to death.

He had killed Dr Rohani, 38, inside an apartment unit in Persiaran Lembah Perpaduan, Permai Lake View in Ulu Kinta, Perak, between 6pm and 7.30pm, on Aug 3, 2011.

Evidence showed that he did not only murder Dr Rohani by choking her to death but he then had sex with her corpse after breaking into her apartment.

The other judges who presided were Tan Sri Hasan Lah, Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim, Tan Sri Jeffery Tan Kok Wha and Datuk Alizatul Khair Osman Khairuddin.

Earlier, Syahmie's counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik argued that failure on the prosecution's part to call a psychiatrist as witness was perjudicial to his client.

Deputy public prosecutor Faizah Mohd Salleh said the burden of proof in a defence of insanity lies on the appellant, not the prosecution.

On May 18, 2016, the Court of Appeal upheld Syahmie's conviction and death penalty ruling that there was no grounds for insanity.

It was previously reported that the body of a woman wrapped in a thick blanket was found on a staircase.

The suspect at that time was carrying the body to dispose it when he was caught by security guards.

Source: malaysiandigest.com, January 11, 2018

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