Capital Punishment in Oregon

Capital Punishment in Oregon

EUGENE, Ore. -- In the last century Oregon has executed 60 inmates.

Now Angela McAnulty joins a list of 34 others awaiting the same fate.

McAnulty is the first woman sentenced to death since Oregon reinstated the death penalty in 1984.

It’s an historic sentence for the state, but those in law enforcement say McAnulty has a long wait behind bars before that punishment is carried out.

“It’s a hugely significant verdict,” said Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner. “But we should understand that nothing is going to happen soon.”

According to state law, every death sentence prompts an automatic appeal to the state supreme court.

Gardner said appeals can continue for several years. For other Oregon inmates on death row the process has taken years and even decades.

Lane County has five other inmates on death row. Michael Hayward, Jessee Compton, Conan Hale, Jeffrey Tiner and Travis Gibson have each been on death row for at least a decade.

Oregon inmate Mark Pinnell has been on death row the longest with 19 years behind bars.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, inmates across the U.S. spend an average of 14 years on death row before being executed. That’s up from an average of six years in 1985.

McAnulty will spend about a month at the Lane County Jail before she is transferred to the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Ore..

“She will be housed in what is called the segregation unit so she will be housed by herself, a single person to a cell,” said Jeanine Hohn of the Oregon Department of Corrections. “She will not have the ability to come and go from housing units.”

McAnulty will be held at Coffee Creek rather than the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem because she is a woman.

When she arrives in Wilsonville guards will keep her isolated and under close watch.

“She will under go some mental health and medical assessment and will be placed on suicide watch to make sure that she is protected from self harm during the next couple of weeks,” said Hohn.

District Attorney Gardner said that because capitol crimes are automatically appealed that costs of trials can  swell above  $1 million.

Gardner said that McAnulty’s guilty plea doesn’t necessarily mean she will spend any less time behind bars before her execution.

McAnulty is the second woman to be sentenced to death in Oregon state history.

Jeannace Freeman was 20 years old when she murdered her female lover's young son by throwing him off a bridge in Jefferson County, Ore. She was sentenced to die for the crime.

But Oregon voters repealed the death penalty Nov. 3, 1964. ON Nov. 5, then-Gov. Mark Hatfield commuted the death sentences of three people, including Freeman, to life in prison.

Oregon re-instated the death penalty in 1984 but didn't carry out the first execution in decades until 1996.

Oregon uses lethal injection for executions.