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Execution date for Oregon killer debated

PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Prosecutors and defense attorneys are arguing the likely execution date for a twice-convicted murderer in Oregon as a judge considers his case.

Marion County Circuit Judge Joseph Guimond is expected to rule later this month on the mental competency of Gary Haugen, whose Aug. 16 execution date had been canceled by the Oregon Supreme Court, The (Portland) Oregonian reported.

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The state Supreme Court halted Haugen's bid to waive his legal challenges and be put to death after his previous attorneys argued he was mentally incompetent.

Haugen, 49, was sentenced to death in 2007 for killing a fellow inmate at the Oregon State Penitentiary, where he had been in prison since he was 19 for the beating death of his former girlfriend's mother in 1981.

If Haugen is found competent, prosecutors say, an execution should take place within 20 days of the state's filing for a new death warrant.

But Haugen's attorneys say they disagree with the state's interpretation of the statute, arguing it calls for an execution date 90 to 120 days from the request.

Haugen intends to use that time to settle his affairs, defense attorney Steve Gorham said.

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