Yesterday, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber stopped the execution of two-time killer Gary Haugen. Oregon journalist and author Naseem Rakha, who has visited with Haugen on death row, reacted to the announcement on her blog.
“In Oregon we have only executed people who have volunteered to die by giving up their appeals,” Rakha writes. “Just like the prisoner in my book, The Crying Tree. But killing people creates more victims that it helps.”
Before Kitzhaber's announcement, Rakha had plann
ed to send a letter to The Oregonian protesting the execution. “I am so glad I will not have to do that,” she writes. The letter is included in her blog post. Rakha discussed Kitzhaber's decision on Oregon Public Broadcasting's Think Out Loud program this morning.
Rakha's debut novel, The Crying Tree, which won an award from the independent booksellers of the Northwest, is about the murder of a 15-year-old boy, the way his family copes with the tragedy and the secrets that are revealed as his killer's execution date nears.
Haugen read The Crying Tree and asked Rakha to visit him. She talks about their visit in her blog post.