Federal judge delays execution of condemned inmate
Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:59pm
184.108.40.206 (XFF: unknown)
Thursday, Aug 21, 2008 Posted on Thu, Aug. 21, 2008 Federal judge delays execution of condemned inmate
By JUAN A. LOZANO Associated Press Writer A federal judge on Thursday delayed the execution of a condemned inmate so he can be tested to determine whether he's mentally competent to understand why he would be put to death. Jeffery Wood had been set to be executed Thursday for taking part in a 1996 robbery in the Texas Hill Country store in which a clerk was fatally shot.
But U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio granted a request by Wood's attorneys to delay his execution so they could hire a mental health expert to pursue their arguments that he is incompetent to be executed. Texas courts had previously refused similar appeals.
Wood's "motion presents non-frivolous arguments suggesting (he) currently lacks a rational understanding of the connection between his role in his offense and the punishment imposed upon him," Garcia wrote in his 20-page order.
While Garcia wrote that the evidence was far from compelling, there were enough facts to conclude Wood had made a "substantial threshold showing of insanity."
Garcia wrote that his decision was based on the state trial court's refusal to afford Wood fundamental due process protections mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court's 2007 decision, which blocked the execution of a mentally ill Texas murderer because lower courts failed to consider whether he had a rational understanding of why he was to be killed.
"We applaud the (court) for upholding Jeff Wood's rudimentary due process right to have his competency evaluated," said Andrea Keilen, executive director of Texas Defender Service, a legal group also representing Wood.
The Texas Attorney General's Office, which argued Wood had failed to show he was incompetent to be executed, said in an e-mail statement, "Our attorneys are reviewing the order and will make a decision whether to appeal."
Wood would have been the ninth condemned prisoner put to death this year and the fifth this month in the nation's busiest capital punishment state.
Attorney Scott Sullivan said in a motion filed Tuesday that he met with Wood a month ago and Wood told him he believed the trial judge was corrupt but would accept a $100,000 bribe and then deport him to Norway where he could live with his wife. Sullivan said Wood also believed the government will pay him $50,000 a year once he's released and that he's willing to give that money to the judge.
The U.S. Supreme Court has barred the execution of prisoners determined to be mentally disabled, but that protection has not extended to those with mental illness.
Wood waited in a car outside a convenience store in Kerrville in January 1996 while his roommate fatally shot the clerk, Kriss Keeran, once in the face with a .22-caliber pistol.
Both men then robbed the store, taking more than $11,000 in cash and checks.
Evidence showed the pair had planned the robbery for a couple of weeks and unsuccessfully tried recruiting Keeran, 31, whom they knew, and another employee to stage a phony robbery at the Texaco gas station.
But Wood's lawyers said his mental illness allowed him to be easily manipulated by his partner and roommate, Daniel Reneau, who they called "the principal actor" in the pre-dawn shooting. Reneau was executed in 2002.
Wood, whose 35th birthday was Tuesday, was convicted under the Texas law of parties, which makes accomplices as liable as the actual killer in capital murder cases.
At first, Wood was found by a jury to be mentally incompetent to stand trial. After a brief stint at a state hospital, a second jury found him competent.
At his capital murder trial, he tried to fire his lawyers before the penalty phase. The trial judge denied the request but Wood's lawyers followed their client's wishes, called no witnesses and declined to cross-examine prosecution witnesses.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles had refused to recommend that Gov. Rick Perry grant clemency to Wood, whose lawyers compared his case to another convicted Texas killer, Kenneth Foster. A year ago, Foster won a commutation from the parole board, Perry agreed and Foster now is serving a life sentence.
Foster also was condemned under the law of parties, although Perry's explanation for commuting Foster was that Foster and his co-defendant were tried together on capital murder charges for a slaying in San Antonio.
In Wood's case, he and Reneau were tried separately.
Those Who Are About to Die Your Texas death machine gets rolling once again By Jordan Smith A Nation of Laws? Scheduled for Execution Aug. 5: José Medellín There is no doubt that the crime for which... more
Critics have argued that Texas' use of the law of parties unconstitutionally broadens the field of death-eligible defendants; the death penalty, they argue, should be reserved for the most culpable... more
Honduras seeks to block citizen's US execution The Associated Press Wednesday, August 6, 2008 TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras: The Honduran government says it is lobbying U.S. authorities to stop Thursday's... more
Court clears way for another immigrant's execution By MICHAEL GRACZYK – 2 hours ago HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — An illegal immigrant from Honduras who claimed his treaty rights were violated when he was ... more
UPDATE: Execution of Honduran allowed Thursday, August 7th, 2008 1:24 pm | Lyle Denniston | UPDATE 4:30 p.m. Without recorded dissent, the Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon refused to delay the... more
Texas executes Honduran immigrant after Supreme Court decides in its favor By MICHAEL GRACZYK | Associated Press Writer 7:11 PM CDT, August 7, 2008 HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ An illegal immigrant from... more
Fellow Abolitionists, Tonight, Texas again did the unthinkable---it ignored the international law that guarantees someone arrested in a foreign country the right to see a representative of their... more
Texas executions break international law By Gloria Rubac Houston Published Aug 14, 2008 11:10 PM In April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Baze v. Rees that the three drugs used in lethal injections... more
Texas Executes a Mexican Citizen Despite a Breach of the Vienna Convention: A Decision that Undermines America's International Standing and Commitment to the Rule of Law By EDWARD LAZARUS Thursday,... more
Media Advisory For immediate release: July 29, 2008 Contacts: Terri Been B.S., M. Ed, Sister of Jeff Wood email@example.com 254-371-5650 Scott Cobb, President Texas Moratorium Network 512-689-1544... more
My husband, Jeff Wood, is on Texas Death Row. He is sentenced for a crime that happened back in 1996. He did NOT kill anyone though. He was actually outside of the place where it all happened. He was ... more
Texas v Jeffery Wood http://www.texasdefender.org/index.asp The Texas Defender Service, along with attorney Scott Sullivan, has filed a clemency petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles... more
Jeff Wood was a pissant criminal boob, and the world is better off without him. If he had chosen to get a job instead of putting himself voluntarily in a criminal undertaking, he would never have... more
I am with you on this one! What I want to know is how come these people who fight against the death penalty are so naive to really believe stories of death row inmates? They did not get on death row... more
The cousin of Kris Keeran (the murder victim) wants to save the life of Jeff Wood: "My cousin was the person killed by Danny, not Jeff. I say this as a family member who realized long ago Jeff had no ... more
I am sorry for your loss Amanda. But I am a bit confused about this statement posted by Jeff's sister in an article: "At no point in time did Jeff ever plan to kill anybody. Jeff was threatened by... more
I cannot belive I have never seen this post before now. Kriss is also a 1st cousin of mine and I think they were both responsible. Jeff is just as guilty as Daniel because he assisted in the robbery. ... more
What is the Law of Parties? Penal Code: 1.02 Objectives of Code (1) to insure the public safety through: B. the rehabilitation of thise convicted of violations of this code; and C. such punishment as ... more
PARTIES AND THE US SUPREME COURT The US Supreme Court held that imposition of the death penalty on a person who aids and abets a felony in the course of which a murder is committed by others but who... more
Texas Man Who Didn't Kill to Will Be Executed Jeff Wood Didn't Kill Kris Keeran, but He Is Set to Be Executed for Keeran's Death By SCOTT MICHELS Aug. 8, 2008 — Texas is scheduled to put a man to... more
Wood seeks reprieve By Caleb Chapman The Daily Times Published August 9, 2008 Jeffery Lee Wood does not deserve to die. That’s the plea made in an application to the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole ... more
Friends-- Here is the letter than Ramsey promised me he would write for Jeff. I think it is very good, very persuasive. I had to get a box of Kleenex when I read it because Ramsey mentions the case... more
RAMSEY CLARK LAWRENCE W. SCHILLING 37 WEST 12TH STREET NEW YORK, N.Y. 10011 212-989-6613 212-979-1583 FAX August 12, 2008 The Honorable Rick Perry Governor, State of Texas State Capitol, Room 2S.I... more
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 Mike Farrell Writes Letter Asking for Clemency for Jeff Wood From: Mike Farrell August 11, 2008 Ms. Rissie Owens, Chair Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles 8610 Shoal Creek... more
Should murder accomplices face execution? By John Gramlich, Stateline.org Staff Writer An execution last month in Mississippi and another scheduled for this month in Texas have reignited a debate... more
Defense Lawyers Try to Halt Execution By Jordan Smith Since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1976, only six people have been executed for a murder in which they did not directly participate,... more
Death and Texas Governor Rick Perry and his state's flawed judicial system are now executing convicts for crimes they did not Maura Kelly guardian.co.uk, Thursday August 14 2008 18:30 BST Texans - or ... more
Sanders: Another execution is scheduled under flawed law-of-parties provision By BOB RAY SANDERS firstname.lastname@example.org August 17, 2008 Make a note of this name: Jeffery Lee Wood. And this date:... more
Abolition Movement Members and Friends, I just got a call from Kristin Wood and she said to let you know that the meeting with the chair of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Rissie Owens, went... more
Texas Death Row: Where Innocence is Irrelevant On August 21, Texas will execute Jeff Wood for the murder of Kris Keeran, even though there is a consensus that Wood did not murder, intend to murder,... more
Editor's note: Please contact Gov. Perry and asked him to grant clemency for Jeff Wood ! Mailing Address Office of the Governor P.O. Box 12428 Austin, Texas 78711-2428 Delivery Address Office of the... more
Parole board rejects clemency for non-triggerman 05:34 PM CDT on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 Associated Press HUNTSVILLE, Texas - The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday rejected a clemency... more
Stop the Execution: Jeff Wood Faces Death Tomorrow for a Murder He Didn't Commit By Liliana Segura, AlterNet Posted on August 20, 2008, Printed on August 20, 2008 http://www.alternet.org/story/95690/ ... more
IN THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TEXAS NO. AP-75,970 JEFFERY LEE WOOD, Appellant v. THE STATE OF TEXAS ON MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL AND REQUEST FOR PREPAYMENT OF FUNDS TO RETAIN MENTAL... more
Federal judge delays execution of condemned inmate Britta,Thu Aug 21 5:59pm
Federal Judge, Chastising the Texas Courts, Orders a Stay of Execution By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr. HOUSTON — With only hours until his scheduled execution, a man won a stay Thursday when a federal judge ... more
Condemned prisoner loses appeal A Texas death row inmate who came within hours of execution last summer has lost an appeal in a federal appeals court where his lawyers argued he's too mentally ill to ... more