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Ohio Governor Commutes Sentence:  Alan Johnson of The Columbus Dispatch reports Ohio Governor John Kasich yesterday commuted the sentence of convicted killer Joseph Murphy from death to life without the possibility of parole.  Murphy was set to be executed in October for the 1987 murder of Ruth Predmore, 72, whom he stabbed to death during a robbery of her home.  Governor Kasich concurred with an 8-0 parole board recommendation that Murphy should not be executed, largely because of his abused and neglected childhood.

Judge Rules Oregon Death Row Inmate Competent to Waive Appeals:  An Oregon circuit judge today ruled that death row inmate Gary Haugen is competent to assist his lawyers and understand the consequences of his request to be executed, reports Jonathan J. Cooper of the AP.  Haugen has sought to waive his appeals and be executed, but death penalty opponents have continued to file legal motions to block the execution.  Some have said they will go so far as to appeal to the governor for clemency.  The judge today did not go so far as to formally rule Haugen is competent to be executed and did not issue a death warrant, but relied on a psychologist's report stating that Haugen understood waiving his appeals would end his life.

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