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.
Texas Moratorium Network (TMN) is a non-profit organization with the primary goal of mobilizing statewide support for a moratorium on executions in Texas. Significant death penalty reform in Texas, including a moratorium on executions, is a viable goal if the public is educated on the death penalty system and is encouraged to contact their elected representatives to urge passage of moratorium legislation.
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