Oregon murder deemed mentally competent to pursue own death

Sep 27, 2011

A Marion County judge ruled Tuesday that convicted killer Gary Haugen is competent to move ahead with his request to be executed. But so far, the execution has not been ordered.

Haugen wants to waive all his appeals to the death sentence and proceed to execution. But this summer, the state Supreme Court stopped execution plans and ordered the inmate be mentally evaluated.

Forensic psychologist, Doctor Richard Hulteng, says after two days of assessing Haugen's mental competency, he found no reason to believe he wasn't competent.

Judge Joseph Guimond ruled from the bench.

"I find the defendant is competent to engage in reasoned choices regarding his legal strategies. I further find the defendant is competent to aid and assist his counsel. If further find that the defendant does not have a mental condition that impairs his abilities to have rational understanding of the reasons for his execution," Guimond said.

The next step is a meeting between the judge and Haugen’s lawyers, set for October 7th. If Haugen were executed, it would be Oregon's first in 14 years.