Judge finds Ore. death-row inmate competent

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- A Marion County judge has found a death-row inmate competent to assist in his defense and to understand the consequences of his desire to be executed. But the judge has not yet determined whether twice-convicted murderer Gary Haugen can waive his appeals and die by lethal injection.

Judge Joseph Guimond (guh-MOND') relied on an evaluation by a Portland psychologist to determine Tuesday that Haugen is not suffering from a mental condition that would impair his ability to make reasoned legal decisions.

The judge's finding overcomes a key roadblock to Haugen's desire to be executed.

Haugen, who is 49, was sentenced to death for the 2003 jailhouse murder of David Polin. At the time, he was serving a sentence for the murder of a former girlfriend's mother.