Ore. governor bans death penalty for rest of term

November 22, 2011 - 6:20 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty for the remainder of his term, saying he's morally opposed to the capital punishment and has long regretted allowing two men to be executed in the 1990s.

Kitzhaber (KITS'-hah-ber) announced the decision on Tuesday, giving a reprieve to a twice-convicted murderer who was scheduled to die by lethal injection in two weeks. His decision makes Oregon the fifth state to halt executions since 2007.

The Democratic governor says he has no sympathy or compassion for murderers. But he says Oregon's death penalty system is broken and applied unevenly. Since voters reinstated capital punishment in 1984, two people have been executed and both voluntarily waived their appeals.

Prison officials had been preparing to execute Gary Haugen, who also had waived appeals.