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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…

Death row inmate requests electric chair, Florida law may make it possible

Florida's electric chair
Florida's electric chair
Considered among the most dangerous inmates, Action News met with Wayne Doty in a small room at Florida's death row. Despite his wrists being shackled, security still watched his every move.

"An individual has the right to choose their own destiny," Doty professed.

Then, the Plant City man uttered what no Florida inmate has requested before. The 44-year-old is demanding to be put to death by the electric chair and not by the lethal injection method.

"The bottom line is, at the end of the day I'm the one that murdered an individual," said Doty. "Not you, not anybody else. So it is my life, it is my crime, it is my means of execution."

His reasons even dumbfounded Mark Elliott, Executive Director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

"I don't understand. I don't know what his motives are," said Elliott.

Why he wants the electric chair

Doty's claims are flabbergasting. He doesn't like needles. He was also a former welder and believes that electrocution is a more humane way to die.

"Electricity, 2000-3000 volts of electricity right through a person's brain will render you dead within seconds," said Doty.

The state doesn't agree

Allen Lee Davis' execution in 1999
Allen Lee Davis' execution in 1999
Florida took the electric chair out of commission after the execution of triple murderer Allen Lee "Tiny" Davis back in 1999 went horribly wrong. Davis' execution drew nationwide attention after he bled profusely from the nose while being electrocuted.

Many argued that execution by electrocution was outdated.

Then Governor Jeb Bush, agreed that lethal injection would become the primary means of capital punishment.

The loophole in the law that may grant Doty his wish

"Although we are locked up in prison we have our own rights," said Doty.

A rarely used Florida law gives the state no choice but to honor Doty request. Once sentenced, inmates have a one time option of requesting their means of execution.

What landed Doty on death row

Doty shot to death Harvey Horne II, a worker at a manufacturing plant in Plant City in 1996. But that murder didn't send Doty to death row. He got life in prison.

Doty landed on death row only after killing another inmate, Xavier Rodriguez years later in 2011.

Why Doty says he did it

His reasons behind killing the inmate are another mind twister.

Doty said he did it for Horne's sake.

"It is just my right to bring closure to the victim's family," said Doty.

According to court records, for weeks, if not months, Doty had been planning the murder of Rodriguez.

What his victim's son thinks

"I was shocked and flabbergasted and totally disgusted," said Harvey Horne III.

Horne is the son of the man Doty killed in 1996.

"He and another man shot him 5 times in the face," said Horne.

Doty ultimately confessed to the murder of Harvey Horne admitting he shot Horne in the face during a drug robbery, according to court records.

"He didn't say he wanted to die when he was on trial when he first went to court when he killed my father. He tried to fight it," said Horne.

Doty saying that he killed the inmate for Horne's sake, truly infuriates Horne's son.

"My father's loss had a tremendous impact on me. I did not get a chance to be with my dad. He was killed right before my 20th birthday and now you just took this man a way to give me peace? That does not give me any peace it makes it worse. What kind of man are you?" asked Horne.

Doty's 2nd motive

He said was to get out of general population.

"Would you like to do life in prison?" he asked.

Doty's request comes to light as Florida's death row policies are in complete chaos

Pressure from the federal and state courts led to a new law in March. Now, death verdicts have to be unanimous.

Legal experts explained that nearly 150 inmates, nearly half on Florida's death row could get a new trial or even their sentences reversed.

Doty is one of those inmates, but is waiving appeals.

Is Doty seeking the electric chair as a delay tactic?

"If something happens and capital punishment is thrown out which could happen in the foreseeable future. That's not my problem," said Doty.

Source: abcnews, July 14, 2017

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