Thou shall not kill: Governor of Oregon halts all state executions
The Governor of Oregon has handed a high-profile victory to opponents of the death penalty in the United States, announcing a moratorium on executions during the remainder of his time in office because he is unwilling to "participate in something I believe to be morally wrong".
John Kitzhaber issued a temporary reprieve to Gary Haugen, a convicted murderer due to be killed on 6 December, saying capital punishment is "a perversion of justice" and "neither fair nor just". The move makes Oregon the latest of five American states to abandon the death penalty, at least temporarily, in recent years. New York ruled it unconstitutional in 2004, New Jersey repealed it in 2007, New Mexico followed in 2009 and Illinois abolished the practice in March.
Mr Kitzhaber announced his move at an emotional press conference on Tuesday, saying he is haunted by regret for allowing two men to be put to death on his watch more than a decade ago and is unwilling to take the "agonising and difficult" decision to sign any more warrants.
"I do not believe that those executions made us safer and certainly they did not make us nobler as a society," he told reporters. "The death penalty as practiced in Oregon is neither fair nor just; and it is not swift or certain. It is not applied equally to all."
Those angered by Mr Kitzhaber's decision included Haugen, 49, who was eager to be executed, and the families of the two people he brutally murdered 22 years ago.
"We are just plain devastated," said Ard Pratt, the ex-husband of Haugen's victim, Mary Archer.
- 1 Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
- 2 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 3 Germanwings crash: Descent may have been 'deliberate, suicidal choice' by pilot, claims experts
- 4 Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 5 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...