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…

India: Death penalty for man for 6-year-old girl's rape, murder

Indian police officers
The 35-year-old man had raped and killed the girl on April 21 last year and kept her body hidden in his house.

A 35-year-old man has been sentenced to death by a city court for the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl here last year.

54th City Civil and Sessions Judge M Lathakumrai held Anil Balagar guilty of rape and murder and sentenced him to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and death respectively for the crimes.

In her order yesterday, the judge also directed the Karnataka government to pay Rs 2 lakh to the victim's parents.

According to the prosecution, Balagar had raped and killed the girl on April 21 last year and kept her body hidden in his house.

The girl was reported missing since April 20 and on the basis of a complaint from her grandfather, the local police had registered a case.

The girl had come to her grandfather's house. Balagar, a neighbour of the victim's grandfather, lured the girl and took her to his house, where he raped and killed her, the prosecution had said.

A few days after the girl went missing, a foul smell had started emanating from Balagar' locked house. The neighbours had broken open the door and found the highly decomposed body of the girl under a cot, the police said.

A case was registered under the POCSO Act and Anil was arrested, they added.

Source: Press Trust of India, April 30, 2018

Six-year-old girl raped in eastern India dies in hospital

A six-year-old girl who was raped and strangled at a school a week ago has died after battling for survival in an eastern Indian hospital for more than a week, officials said Monday.

The girl was found unconscious April 21 at the school in Odisha state’s Cuttack district, with injuries to her head and groin and strangulation marks on her neck, senior district police official Krutibas Jena said.

“We have arrested a 23-year-old man suspected of the crime,” Jena said.

According to preliminary investigations, the accused lured the girl into the school premises as she was on her way to buy biscuits, Jena said.

“It appears after raping her on the school premises he tried to kill her by throttling her,” Jena said.

The girl was first taken to a local health centre and then to the SCB Medical College and Hospital in the city of Cuttack, where she died on Sunday.

“The girl died of a cardiac arrest. A team of specialists from various disciples was treating her,” Shyama Kanungo, superintendent of the hospital said. “She was in a deep coma since Saturday.”

Kanungo said the girl’s body would be handed over to her family after a post-mortem.

The girl’s sister has demanded a speedy trial and a death sentence for the culprit, IANS news agency reported.

There has been widespread public anger in India in recent months regarding cases of rape of young girls.

India’s federal government recently approved stringent punishments for sexual violence against children, including the death penalty for those convicted of raping girls younger than 12.

Source: Agence France-Presse, April 30, 2018

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