SALEM, Ore. – A jury in Marion County has once again voted to execute one of the longest-serving inmates on Oregon's death row.
It will be the fifth death sentence in the case of Robert Langley, 54. In 1989, he was convicted of two separate killings and sentenced to die. Prosecutors said he buried one victim in a backyard hole, another in a cactus garden.
In a retrial, one of those death sentences was changed to life.
Ruling that the jury received inadequate instructions, the state Supreme Court threw out the other death sentence, for the killing of Anne Gray. Prosecutors said he taped her mouth and eyes shut and watched her die.
Twice more, he was sentenced to death for killing Gray. Twice more, the sentences were thrown out, leading to Wednesday's decision by a 12-person jury.
"I'm relieved and thankful," said Gray's sister, Judith Powell. "It's been a very long 26 years."
Powell said she hopes not that Langley is put to death, but that he spend the rest of his life in a cell where he is no threat to anyone.
Oregon last carried out an execution in 1997, and Gov. John Kitzhaber has said he won't permit any more while he's in office, the Salem Statesman Journal (http://stjr.nl/1ton9tC) reported.
Defense attorney Christopher Clayhold asked the jury whether it was necessary to put Langley to death, saying he's been "a very quiet inmate and done nothing wrong" in custody.
Prosecutor Matt Kemmy said Langley is a sociopath who can control his actions.
"That's what makes him so scary," Kemmy said. "He can control it for long periods of time. He relishes the idea of hurting people."
Langley will appear before a judge June 6 for a formal sentencing.
Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com