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 New York ruled it unconstitutional in 2004, New Jersey repealed it in 2007, New Mexico followed in 2009 and Illinois abolished the practice in March.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.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
FCKH8: Provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing reinstated by YouTube
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£4848 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Outstanding...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Leeds: Cover Supervisors/Long Term Teaching Ass...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher...
£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Cover Supervisors needed for seco...