SALEM The Oregon Supreme Court said Monday it will not block next months execution of twice-convicted murderer Gary Haugen, spurning an attempt by death penalty opponents to halt the states first execution in 14 years.
The courts decision is the last legal hurdle in Haugens months-long quest to waive his remaining appeals. A Marion County judge has ordered that Haugen be executed by lethal injection on Dec. 6.
The Oregon Capital Resource Center, which opposes the death penalty, argued to the Supreme Court that a trial-court judge improperly ignored a psychologists report suggesting Haugen may be incompetent. The group also argued that one of Haugens current lawyers has a conflict of interest because he represented Haugen at trial.
But in 4-3 opinion, the justices ruled that the record demonstrates no legal error.
Haugen can cancel the execution at any time if he decides to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Several groups opposing the death penalty have also asked Gov. John Kitzhaber to halt all executions and conduct a thorough review of capital punishment in Oregon.