TX Prosecutor Opposes Death Penalty for Accomplice

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A Texas prosecutor who sought the death penalty almost 20 years ago against a man who never killed anyone has asked that his sentence be reduced to life in prison, the Texas Tribune reports. Kerr County district attorney Lucy Wilke was the prosecutor in the 1998 murder trial of Jeff Wood, whose scheduled execution last year prompted lawmakers to question when the state should put accomplices to death. Although she originally decided to seek the death penalty for Wood, she told the prison parole board that “the penalty now appears to be excessive.” Wilke asked the board to recommend Gov. Greg Abbott grant clemency and change Wood’s sentence to life in prison “in the interest of justice and judicial economy.”

Abbott has not changed a death sentence since he took office in 2015. Wood’s case gained national attention in August 2016, as his execution date neared. Wood, now 44, was convicted and sentenced to death in a 1996 convenience store murder. He was sitting outside in the truck when a friend pulled the trigger that killed a clerk. As an accomplice, he was sentenced under Texas’ felony murder statute, commonly known as the law of parties, which holds that anyone involved in a crime resulting in death is equally responsible, even if they weren’t directly involved in the killing. Wood’s attorneys claimed he didn’t go to the store with the intention of having the clerk killed and didn’t even know the friend brought a gun. Prosecutors disputed that.

One thought on “TX Prosecutor Opposes Death Penalty for Accomplice

  1. Wood’s confessions, as well as the confessions and testimonies of others, confirm the following:

    Wood and Renau tried to recruit an inside man, Kris Keeran, a friend, to assist in the robbery. Kris refused. Wood knew they would have to kill Kris Keeran because he knew both robbers, Wood and Renau, well; Wood stated that he and Reneau had agreed to murder Keeran if Keeran did not cooperate and Keeran had, already, told them he would not cooperate; Wood confirmed he and Renau agreed to go back to get a different gun.

    Start with these: Reporters Record, Trial Court Cause No. 3038-98, (Volume 25, 26, 30 & 32 of 33 Volumes)

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