SALEM -- A judge granted death row inmate Gary Haugen's motion to dismiss his lawyers Thursday at a status conference, after they had declared he was not mentally competent to waive his appeals andproceed with his own execution.
Haugen was convicted of two murders and his execution had been scheduled for August 16, after he requested the process be sped up. But Judge Joseph Guimond canceled it and ordered the Oregon Health Authority to evaluate Haugen's mental capacity within 30 days. The Oregon Supreme Court had called for a competency hearing.
Background: Oregon Supreme Court blocks Haugen execution
Guimond's order was aimed at determining Haugen's ability to make reasoned choices about his legal options. His lawyers had said the 49-year-old was psychotic and that's why he wants to be executed.
It speaks volumes to the psychotic process that is going on here, said Haugen's former attorney Keith Goody. Somehow the prosecution is his friend when the prosecution is seeking to have him executed. It makes no sense.
Haugen said his lawyers were working against him.
I'm not trying to get the right lawyer, Haugen said. I'm just trying to get a lawyer to withhold my rights.
Haugen previously dropped his appeals and repeated his wish to die. The court found that the judge in his case did not sufficiently evaluate Haugen's competency before sentencing him to death.
Haugen was convicted in the 2003 slaying of a fellow inmate and sentenced to death in a jury trial after the man was found with 84 stab wounds and a crushed skull. Haugen and another inmate were convicted of the murder in 2007. Haugen was already serving time for the 1981 murder of a former girlfriend's mother.
Haugen could stop his execution at virtually any time by saying he wants to appeal, or the governor could commute his sentence. He's scheduled to be executed by lethal injection.
If carried through, the execution would be the state's first in 14 years.
Oregon's last execution was in 1997. The state has executed two inmates since voters reinstated the death penalty in 1984, and both had waived their appeals. Oregon has 35 men and one woman on death row, including Haugen.