On balance, the response to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's decision to ban the death penalty in his state has been mostly positive. But try telling that to the family members of the victim whose killer will no longer be executed for his crimes.
KGW reports that Kathy Pratt and Ard Archer, the daughter and ex-husband of Mary Archer, who was killed by formerly-condemned inmate Gary Haugen, has lashed out at Gov. Kitzhaber, calling him a "coward."
Pratt said he called Kitzhaber a coward, adding "that he should suck it up and be a man about it and put his personal feelings aside and let it happen because it should happen."
Kathy Pratt didn't get a personal call, but if she had, she would have echoed her father. "It is just so unfair - so unjust to me, what he's done," she said.
Pratt and Archer are not only furious with the governor over his decision to ban the death penalty while he remains in office, they're also angry that he never called them personally to explain his rationale.
Mary Archer was raped and killed by Haugen in May 1981. Haugen was originally given a life sentence, but after being convicted of killing an inmate in 2007, he was given a death sentence.
Haugen himself has long campaigned against the death penalty--though he says not for his own sake (indeed, he asked to be executed), but for the sake of other inmates whose guilt may be more in question than his own.
In explaining his decision to ban capitol punishment, Gov. Kitzhaber called it "perversion of justice" and pledged that Oregonians would need to find a new governor if they wanted to keep executing criminals.