Woodburn mayor slams Oregon’s governor over decision to commute death sentence

Woodburn’s new mayor is not happy with Oregon Governor Kate Brown.

Woodburn mayor Frank Lonergan condemned Governor Brown’s decision to commute the death sentences for two men who bombed a bank in the city 14 years ago.

In one of her final actions as Oregon’s governor, Brown commuted the sentences of the 17 people on Oregon’s death row; the state had not executed anyone in more than four years.

The most notable names on the list were Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, a father and son who bombed a Woodburn bank in 2008, killing two police officers.

In Lonergan’s statement condemning Brown’s decision to pardon the two men, he said he was “shocked and angered”.

“As Mayor, I was shocked and angered to learn that Governor Brown unilaterally commuted the death sentences of the two murderers who committed this terrible crime against our police officers and our community without consultations or apparent consideration of victims, the City, the Woodburn Police Department or any evaluation of the specific facts related to the conviction of the bombers, who were found guilty by an Oregon jury and sentenced by a Marion County Judge,” Lonergan wrote.

Lonergan added that law enforcement and the community have worked hard to ensure that justice would be served to the bombers and that the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the capital punishment sentence in 2016 with a 143-page opinion.

“Governor Brown’s unilateral decision to supersede the legal process, commuting the sentences of the Woodburn bombers, is a betrayal of those who relied on and believed that the criminal justice system would fairly deliver justice to those who killed and maimed our first responders and attacked our community members,” he said.

“Governor Brown’s decision is an injustice to those who were affected by the bombing and a repudiation of Oregon voters who established the death penalty for those convicted of murdering innocent victims and police officers,” he added. “We expected better.”

“I have long believed that 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 in a press release.

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