John Council, senior reporter for Tex Parte Blog, says that Jeff Wood should not die and that prosecutors should not have sought the death penalty against him. He goes on to urge Perry to ignore the advice of the Board of Pardons and Paroles and grant him clemency anyhow. Perry has the power to grant a 30-day stay of execution without a recommendation from the BPP, so Perry could still take Council’s advice and do that much, then Wood’s lawyers could submit a new application to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, which Perry could urge them to accept.
After four years of seeing countless murdered people as a crime reporter and another 14 writing about criminal courts, not many people would describe me as a bleeding heart — not even my mom. But I’ll go on record right here, Tex Parte readers, and make the case that Jeffrey Wood should not be put to death on Thursday. That’s because Wood didn’t kill anybody. According to the Houston Chronicle, he was the wheelman during a 1996 convenience store in Kerrville; another guy killed the clerk in the hold-up and has already been put to death. But under our famous law of parties, Wood is considered just as culpable under the Texas Penal Code as the shooter, so he got tried for the death penalty, and a jury gave it to him. More often than not, accomplices get threatened by police and prosecutors by the law of parties so they’ll agree to testify against the killer. But Wood had issues; he spent some time in a state mental hospital after a jury found him incompetent to stand trial. When he was later found competent to stand trial by a second jury, he tried to fire his lawyers in the middle of the trial, according to the Chronicle. Even though the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole voted 7-0 to not recommend that Gov. Rick Perry commute his sentence to life, Perry should do it anyway. He has my permission. Prosecutors shouldn’t have gone for death against Wood in the first place.