FEATURED POST

Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

Image
Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother's house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for 2 murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on 2 bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother's home. In his powerful new memoir, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction. He also writes about the unique and unexpected bonds that can form on death row, and in particular about his relationship with Henry Hays, a former Klansman sentenced to death for a notorious lynching in 1981. Hays died in the electric chair in 1997 - 1 of 54 people executed in Alabama while Hinton was on death row.
After almost 30 years, Hinton was finally exonerated in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. On April 27…

Rally Questions Death Penalty for Texas Man Who Didn't Pull Trigger

Jeff Wood
Jeff Wood
Supporters of Jeff Wood gathered on July 23, 2016, in front of the Governor's Mansion to rally against his scheduled August execution.

On Saturday, relatives and supporters of death row inmate Jeff Wood braved the Texas summer heat to gather outside Gov. Greg Abbott's mansion, hoping their state's leader will halt the execution and commute Wood's sentence for one reason - Wood never killed anyone.

On Jan. 2, 1996, Wood, 22 at the time, waited in a car while Daniel Reneau robbed a Kerrville convenience store and shot the clerk, Kriss Keeran, according to a clemency petition from 2008.

Wood was charged with capital murder under Texas' law of parties, which states that a person can be charged of a crime he didn't commit if he helped or "should have anticipated it as a result" of another crime, like a robbery, according to the Texas penal code. Wood was sentenced to death as was Reneau, who was executed in 2002.

Huddled under the shade of trees outside the mansion's gates in the 100-degree heat, Wood's family and about 30 other people carried signs with Wood's face on them and wore T-shirts that said "Punish action. Not affiliation."

Terri Been, Wood's sister, told the small crowd that her brother did not commit or conspire to commit murder and that he didn't even know Reneau had a gun when he entered the store.

"So I ask you, Governor Abbott, how is this justice?" Been said toward the mansion. "My brother is not a monster; he is not a killer."

A spokesman for Abbott's office didn't immediately respond to a request to comment for this article.

At Saturday's rally, Tommy Ramirez, a trial lawyer from Devine, held a sign calling to save Wood, but said he is not against the death penalty or the law of parties. The law was meant for mobsters or someone who paid to have someone killed, he said.

"In this case, we got a ... kid, with no record, hanging with the wrong people," Ramirez said. "He did not know anyone was going to be murdered."

Executions under the law of parties or similar laws in other states, are rare. The Death Penalty Information Center has confirmed only 10 cases, 5 of which were in Texas.

In 2007, then-Gov. Rick Perry changed Kenneth Foster's sentence from death to life in prison hours before his execution. Like Wood, Foster was the getaway driver in a robbery that turned to murder.

But 2 years later, Perry refused to halt the execution of Robert Thompson in a similar case after the Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended clemency, according to the Houston Chronicle. The triggerman in that murder received life, not death.

Jeff Wood was originally scheduled to be executed in 2008, but the execution was stayed by a federal district court, according to court documents. He has been on death row for more than 18 years.

A petition asking the governor and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to stay the execution and commute Wood's sentence will be sent early next month, according to Scott Cobb of Texas Moratorium Network.

With sweat on their brows, Wood's supporters hoped Abbott would hear their cries from his gate and stop his execution, scheduled for Aug. 24.

"We do not want Jeff Wood to be executed. Not on the 24th, not ever!" said Gloria Rubac, an anti-death penalty activist. "We got a stay for Jeff [before], and we're gonna do it again!"

Source: Texas Tribune, July 24, 2016

⚑ | Report an error, an omission; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; send a submission; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running!


"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Thailand carries out first execution since 2009

Florida seeks death penalty for Miami mom whose baby died from scalding bath

Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

Alabama prison system sees steep rise in suicides

Iran: Six executions in one day

Texas: White supremacist gang members sentenced to death for killing fellow supremacist inmate

Iran: Death sentence of Gonabadi Dervish Mohammad Salas carried out despite protests

Kentucky Supreme Court rules death penalty IQ law is unconstitutional

After 21 Years on Death Row, Darlie Routier Still Says She's Innocent of Murdering Her Young Sons

Belarus: Unprecedented Supreme Court decision to suspend death sentences