Groups ask Kitzhaber to halt Ore. executions

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Opponents of the death penalty have called on Gov. John Kitzhaber to declare a moratorium on executions in Oregon, starting with one scheduled next month.

They argue the state spends millions on a death penalty system but in recent decades has executed only those who give up their appeals. They call capital punishment "state sponsored suicide for those whose mental demons make death a better choice than life in prison."

A petition Tuesday said Kitzhaber should grant a reprieve to Gary Haugen, who is scheduled to die Dec. 6., and let him continue to serve life without parole.

It called on Kitzhaber to launch a review of the death penalty.

A spokesman said Kitzhaber wouldn't comment until pending legal actions have run their course.