Victim's family calls Ore. governor a coward over death penalty decision

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by Tim Gordon, KGW Staff

KING5.com

Posted on November 30, 2011 at 8:31 AM

PORTLAND -- A week after John Kitzhaber blocked Gary Haugen’s death sentence, and all executions in Oregon, the daughter of Haugen victim Mary Archer said she never heard from the governor.  Archer's ex-husband called Kitzhaber a coward.

Archer was raped and beaten to death by Haugen in May of 1981, for which he received a life sentence. Haugen was given a death sentence after he was convicted of killing another inmate in 2007.

His execution had been scheduled for Dec. 6 after Haugen decided to waive all appeals.

One of Archer’s daughters, Kathy Pratt, has followed Haugen’s case for 30 years. She has spoken at hearings  as a victim’s family member, reliving her mother’s violent death.

Pratt thinks the governor dismissed the law and the will of the people by stopping his execution.

“It just made no sense to me whatsoever. There just doesn’t seem to be any legal or logical reason other than his personal opinion, which he feels is more important than anybody and anything else,” said Pratt.

Kathy’s father Ard divorced Archer when their children were young, but never stopped fighting for justice over his ex-wife’s death. He was on duty as a Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy the day Mary Archer was killed.

“I was the second police vehicle on the scene," he said, pausing, tears in his eyes. "And that was a tough one.”

Kitzhaber called the retired deputy before making his reprieve announcement last week.

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.

Kitzhaber has said he never supported the death penalty, but carried out the will of the people twice before while in office by signing death warrants.

He said he will not do it again, and wants Oregonians to have a new discussion of a death penalty system he feels is broken.

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