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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…

Alabama jury votes to impose death penalty for Peter Capote in Shoals teen's slaying

Peter Capote
A jury today recommended the death penalty for Peter Capote, one of five people accused in the 2016 slaying of Shoals teenager Ki-Jana Freeman.

The Colbert County jury voted 10-2 to impose the death penalty after convicting Capote, a 24-year-old Muscle Shoals man, of capital murder. He also was convicted of first-degree assault and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

Circuit Judge Hal Hughston Jr. will issue a formal sentence May 24.

Freeman was fatally shot March 1, 2016 as he sat in a Mustang with his friend Tyler Blythe outside Spring Creek Apartments in Tuscumbia. Blythe, 17, was injured in the shooting.

Colbert County Assistant District Attorneys Kyle Brown and Angela Hulsey prosecuted the case. After today's verdict, Brown said he's thankful to get justice for Freeman's family.

"They've been through so much," Brown said. "Their patience and strength have been so impressive to me."

Capote is the third man convicted in the case. 

Prosecutors said Capote and Benjamin Young, who was sentenced to death last month, were the trigger men. 

De'Vontae Bates pleaded guilty last year to criminal conspiracy and agreed to testify about the plan to kill Freeman. His sentencing is scheduled later this year.

Two others -- Riley Hamm Jr. and Thomas Hubbard -- are awaiting trial. Hubbard is set for trial in June. Hamm's case likely will go to trial next year.

Authorities have said the suspects arranged to either buy or sell an Xbox to Freeman, but the transaction was a setup. 

The suspects believed Freeman and another man had stolen an XBox and TV two days earlier in a burglary.

Source: AL.com, Ashley Remkus, April 26, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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