SALEM -- Oregon's taxpayers spent a lot of money trying to execute two-time murderer Gary Haugen before the governor gave him a reprieve last month.
A review by the Salem Statesman Journal puts the tab at over $1.2 million for the past five years. That includes costs of his legal defense, which topped $850,000 before Gov. John Kitzhaber canceled the execution set for this month.
Haugen was serving a life sentence for the 1981 killing of his ex-girlfriend's mother, Mary Archer, when he killed another inmate in prison and was sentenced to death. He had waived his appeals and agreed to be executed, and he called the governor a coward for canceling it.
Kitzhaber said he won't oversee any more executions because he believes the state's death penalty scheme is unfair -- a decision that frustrated Marion County deputy district attorney Don Abar, who handled Haugen's case. Abar said the governor negated six months of hard work and a lot of wear and tear.
That was just all up in smoke because the governor waited until the 11th hour to say, `Gee, I can't do this, ' Abar said. That probably aggravated me more than anything else.
Among the costs for Haugen's case:
--$853,084 and counting for his legal defense, according to the Office of Public Defense Services. The tab covers his 2007 death penalty trial, and the automatic appeal of his conviction and sentence to the state Supreme Court. Just under $598,000 went to attorney fees and expenses; more than $255,000 went to investigations, psychological evaluations, paralegal work, travel and other expenses.
--$239,175 for the 1,820 hours of work the Oregon Department of Justice logged on the case.
--$150,000 to $200,000 to prosecute Haugen and his co-defendant, Jason Brumwell, according to Marion County deputy district attorney Don Abar.
--$57,573 for the state Department of Corrections, which spent the money on lethal injection drugs, training, office expenses, equipment and overtime.
The state Supreme Court upheld Haugen's conviction and sentence in November 2010. The death-row inmate then wrote a series of letters to court officials calling the state's capital punishment system arbitrary and vindictive. He indicated he wanted to waive his further appeals and die in protest of the system.
That led his attorneys to question his competency. After psychological reviews, the high court voted by a 4-3 margin on Nov. 21 to allow his execution to proceed.
The next day, Kitzhaber canceled it. He called Oregon's death penalty system a perversion of justice, saying the state only executes people who volunteer. Since capital punishment was legalized 27 years ago, only two people have been executed -- both during Kitzhaber's previous stint as governor from 1995 to 2003. Both of them, like Haugen, waived their legal challenges.
Kitzhaber said he has long regretted allowing the two earlier executions. His spokesman, Tim Raphael, said the governor struggled mightily with his decision in the Haugen case and waited until Nov. 22 to announce it because he wanted to let the court proceedings play out.