Democratic governor commutes all of Oregon’s death sentences: ‘Justice is not advanced by taking a life’

News & Politics

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, commuted all of the state’s death sentences ahead of her leaving the office.

Brown announced her decision on social media on Tuesday.

“Justice is not advanced by taking a life, and the state should not be in the business of executing people— even if a terrible crime placed them in prison,” Brown said.

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“Today I am commuting all death sentences in Oregon to life without parole, so we no longer have anyone facing execution here,” she concluded.

Brown gave her reasons for the commutations in an interview with KGW-TV.

“Number one, it is immoral. Justice is not served by the state taking a life,” she claimed.

“Secondly, its impact is inequitable, depending on where you live in this state and in this country,” she continued. “And third, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t prevent violent crime, and it costs taxpayers thousands, millions of dollars.”

Brown has less than a month left in office.

Among those whose sentences were commuted were the following:

  1. Jesse Caleb Compton, who starved, burned, and tortured a 3-year-old girl in 1997.
  2. Clinton Wendell Cunningham, who raped and stabbed a Canadian hitchhiker in 1991.
  3. Christian Michael Longo, who suffocated his wife and their three small children and stuffed their bodies in suitcases and sleeping bags before returning to work the next day and attending a pizza party in 2001.
  4. Michael Martin McDonnell, who stabbed a woman 42 times on a rural road after escaping from the Oregon State Penitentiary’s farm annex in 1984.
  5. Marco Antonio Montez, who tortured a woman, strangled her to death with a bedsheet, and burned her body with lighter fluid in 1987 after being granted early release from a Salem prison.
  6. Ricardo Pineda Serrano, who killed a woman and her two sons in 2010.
  7. Bruce Aldon Turnidge and his son Joshua Turnidge for building a bomb and planting it at a bank, where it killed a bomb technician and a police captain in 2008.
  8. Tara Ellyssia Zyst, who used a samurai sword to murder two brothers while they were hiking together in 1994.

The state has not executed anyone since 1997 despite the death penalty being legal.

Here’s more about the death sentence commutations:

[embedded content]Gov. Brown commutes sentences of Oregon death row inmates to life in

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