Today, Texas is set to execute Stephen Moody, who has sworn an affidavit saying that the person convicted as his accomplice and sentenced to life in prison is innocent. Governor Perry should stop today’s execution while an investigation is underway into whether Moody’s convicted accomplice, Calvin Doby, is innocent. Executing someone in a case where his in-court testimony could exonerate an innocent person could irreparably harm the interests of justice and could ensure that an innocent person remains in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Call Governor Perry at 512-463-1782 and urge him to stop today’s execution of Stephen Moody by using his authority to grant a 30-day stay of execution. If you live in the U.S., you can use the form on Perry’s website to email him. We suggest you both call him and email him.
Stephen Moody’s attorneys have been quoted in the media saying they do not plan to file an appeal to try to stop today’s execution, because Moody has said he wants to die and because “it is his wishes and we have to honor them.”
Moody’s attorneys should file an appeal to try to stop today’s execution or ask Governor Perry to issue a 30-day stay of execution. By not filing an appeal or asking for a stay, they are complicit in the state’s use of the death penalty at a time when we know from the case of Todd Willingham that the Texas death penalty system is unable to prevent innocent people from being executed. It does not matter that their client would prefer to die rather than spend life in prison, which he apparently considers worse. Texas has executed an innocent person, and has therefore lost any remaining moral and ethical authority to continue executions until the question of whether Todd Willingham was innocent has been fully addressed by the state of Texas.
Stephen Moody’s execution will be the first execution in Texas since the state-funded report by Dr Craig Beyler to the Texas Forensic Science Commission that the fire in the case of Todd Willingham case was not arson. Governor Perry and the State of Texas should stop all executions because Beyler’s report makes it clear that Texas and Perry allowed an innocent person to be executed. The Texas death penalty system must be suspended while it is determined whether an innocent person has been executed.
Stephen Moody’s attorneys should be helping stop all executions in Texas by trying to stop their own client’s execution. If they believe that they are somehow obligated to follow their client’s wishes to die, then they should arrange for someone to talk to him so that they can convince him that his execution will only serve to further the false illusion that Texas is capable of administering the death penalty in a manner that prevents the execution of innocent people such as Todd Willingham. Even though Stephen Moody does not maintain he himself is innocent, his execution allows the death penalty in Texas to continue at a time when all executions should be stopped because Texas has probably already executed a person who was innocent – Todd Willingham.
Moody should also not die while an investigation is underway into the possible innocence of his alleged accomplice. Moody needs to be alive to be able to testify in court that the person convicted as his accomplice had nothing to do with the crime.
In a self-described act of conscience just days before he’s to be executed, killer Stephen Moody has declared in a sworn statement that his presumed accomplice in the 1991 robbery-murder of a Houston drug dealer is innocent.
The accomplice, Calvin Doby, 47, who has served 17 years of a life sentence, consistently has argued that he was with his wife and newborn son on the night Joseph Hall was robbed and killed.
“My conscience will not let me remain silent any longer,” Moody said in an affidavit sworn last week on Texas’ death row. “It is not right that Calvin Doby has suffered in prison all these years for something he did not do.”
The affidavit is the basis of an appeal by Doby filed Wednesday in state district court. Prosecutors have 15 days to respond.
Moody, who fired a shotgun blast into his victim’s chest, is scheduled to be executed Sept. 16.
He has refused to grant interviews for this report.
Moody’s attorney James Rytting said his client has few legal options to fight his execution and has no desire to file a petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles — a move he considers an empty gesture.
Earlier this year, Moody petitioned a local judge to set his execution date as soon as possible, contending confinement on death row was “cruel and unusual punishment.”
The lead prosecution witness in both trials was ex-convict Melvin Ellis, who testified that Doby instigated and planned the crime. Shortly after sunset on Oct. 19, 1991, Moody and Doby burst into Hall’s home, demanding money, testimony revealed.
Hall’s girlfriend, Rene Psenka, testified that she was in the bathroom when Moody appeared with a sawed-off shotgun and ordered her not to move. She then heard Hall plead for his life. After Moody entered the bathroom a second time, again ordering her not to move, Psenka jumped through an open window and sought safety at a neighbor’s house.
Neighbors told authorities they heard a gunshot and saw two men flee. The pair, testimony indicated, then returned to Ellis’ house.
In his affidavit, Moody said another man — not Doby — was his partner in the crime. He said Ellis, who was taking a number of psychiatric medications at the time, was mistaken in thinking he saw Doby in the getaway car.
Moody said he had not seen Doby for a month before the killing.
In an interview at Angelton’s Scott Unit, Doby said he met Moody when they shared adjacent prison cells in the mid-1980s.
“At the time of the crime,” Doby said, “I was at home with my wife and our newborn. I was on parole. We were struggling.”
Doby previously served time for aggravated robbery and escape and Moody for burglary and auto theft.
Doby’s attorney, Jack Zimmerman, said Moody first contended Doby was innocent five years ago, but the killer’s case was at a sensitive point and his attorneys would not let him make a formal statement. Only after Moody’s state and federal appeals had been exhausted was he in a position to swear an affidavit without jeopardizing his case.
Moody is to be the 17th Texas person executed this year.