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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: iPhone killers' death sentences commuted to life

Bangkok
The Appeal Court on Tuesday sentenced 2 men to life in prison, reducing the Criminal Court's death penalty, for killing a man to steal his 26,000-baht iPhone in Lat Phrao district, Bangkok, early last year.

Kittikorn Wikaha, 27, of Sa Kaeo province, and Supatchai Charnsri, 26, of Uthai Thani province, were convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Wasin Luengjaem, 26, and theft of his iPhone 6 on Sukhonthasawat Road on the night of Jan 4 last year.

The Appeal Court ruled that the two men had consistently confessed during police interrogation and their court trial, and also admitted to their crime when speaking to news reporters. That showed their repentance, which justified the commuted sentences.

Niraporn Luengjaem, the victim's mother, said she had recovered from the loss and held no more grudges. She asked the authorities to take good care of the 2 inmates so they could improve themselves and not repeat their crime. She would not appeal the sentences to the Supreme Court.

In May last year the Criminal Court handed them both the death sentence, reasoning they had no option but to confess because a surveillance camera had caught them in the act.

The court also said it was unlikely the 2 men would reform their behaviour, because they had committed numerous crimes in the past.

The men were charged with theft causing death, carrying a weapon in a public place, and murder to conceal a crime.

The security camera footage showed Wasin being attacked by the 2 men, who approached him on a motorcycle while he was on the footpath and using his phone.

Source: Bangkok Post, April 24, 2018


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

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