Two-time murderer Gary Haugen called the lawman "a paper cowboy" adding that, "he couldn't pull the trigger," after Kitzhaber refused to execute him.
Haugen has voluntarily given up all his legal challenges, claiming he wants to be executed, to protest against the criminal justice system he views as broken.
But Kitzhaber on Tuesday said he won't allow anyone to be executed while he is in office, calling Oregon's death penalty scheme "compromised and inequitable."He called Oregon's death penalty system "a perversion of justice," saying the state only executes people who volunteer.
Since capital punishment was legalized 27 years ago, only two people have been executed in Oregon and both of them, like Haugen, waived their legal challenges.
Haugen wasn't happy however telling the Statesman Journal that the governor "basically pulled a coward's move" by acting on his personal beliefs instead of carrying out the will of Oregon voters, who reinstated the death penalty in 1984.
The 49-year-old inmate said he plans to ask lawyers about possible legal action to fight Kitzhaber's temporary reprieve, which lasts until the governor leaves office.
A Marion County judge had twice signed a death warrant ordering Haugen's execution.
He vowed: "I'm going to have to get with some serious legal experts and figure out really if he can do this. I think there's got to be some constitutional violations.
"Man, this is definitely cruel and unusual punishment. You don't bring a guy to the table twice and then just stop it."