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Gov. Kitzhaber Blocks Haugen Execution

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is putting the execution of two-time murderer Gary Haugen on hold.

John Rosman / OPB

Haugen was set to die by lethal injection in two weeks. But Kitzhaber says his concerns about Oregon’s capital punishment system led him to act.

Kitzhaber allowed two executions to proceed during his first two terms as governor in the 1990’s.

Like Gary Haugen, those death row inmates had dropped all remaining appeals. But Kitzhaber says he’s come to a different conclusion this time.

He’s halting Haugen’s execution and says he won’t allow any further executions while he’s governor.

In his announcement, the Democrat called Oregon’s death penalty system “broken.” He says it, “fails to meet the basic standards of justice.”

Kitzhaber made it clear that he’s not commuting Haugen’s sentence. That means the 49-year-old remains on death row, along with 36 other inmates.

Kitzhaber is calling on Oregon lawmakers to consider making changes to the death penalty during the 2013 legislative session.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

On the web:

Information about Gary Haugen:

A narrated tour of Oregon’s execution chamber:

Information about the death penalty in Oregon: