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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…

Georgia: Stay lifted in Robert Earl Butts Jr. execution

Robert Earl Butts Jr.
Eighteen hours after stopping the scheduled execution of Robert Earl Butts Jr., the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles on Thursday lifted its own stay.

He is now set to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Friday, state Department of Corrections officials said.

In an unusual move, the parole board issued a 90-day stay Wednesday evening, saying it needed time to consider new information presented in a meeting with Butts’ lawyers. Butts, 40, had been set to die at 7 p.m. Thursday. 

Donovan Corey Parks, a correctional officer in Georgia, was murdered on March 28, 1996, while off duty. He was 25. His killers, Robert Earl Butts Jr.and Marion "Murdock" Wilson, are on death row.

“Knowing the gravity of its decisions, the board extended deliberations in order to consider supplemental information submitted during the meeting that members had not previously reviewed,” said spokesman Steve Hayes. 

“Completing that process, the Board voted to deny clemency.” 

Butts was convicted of murdering Donovan Corey Parks, an off-duty corrections officer, in 1996.

Butts, then 18, and Marion “Murdock” Wilson were sentenced to died in Baldwin County for shooting Parks in the back of the head with a sawed-off shotgun and then taking his 1992 Acura with hopes of selling it for parts.

Source: acj.com, Rondha Cook, May, 2018


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