|Jeffery Lee Wood|
Terri Been’s voice shook as she read a long text message from her niece.
“I had a nightmare about my dad last night,” Paige Rowan told her aunt in the text.
Rowan described a dream in which she watched helplessly as the execution needle pierced her father’s skin.
She woke up screaming, panicking and feeling hopeless, she told Been.
Then, she said, she dropped to her knees and prayed.
“Please don’t allow this to happen,” Rowan wrote. “Don’t take my father away.”
Been struggled to finish reading the text message, her voice breaking as she paused several times to regain her composure during an interview with The Washington Post.
The message was sent Sunday, Been said, less than three weeks ahead of the date her niece has come to dread: Aug. 24, when the Texas Department of Criminal Justice plans to inject Jeffery Lee Wood with a lethal dose of pentobarbital to stop his heart.
Rowan’s nightmares have been happening more often as her father’s execution date looms closer.
It is so close now that she can feel it, Rowan told her aunt.
The scheduled execution is Wood’s punishment for the 1996 death of a man he did not kill — and, by some accounts, did not know was going to be killed.
Legal experts say his case is rare, even in Texas, the execution capital of America — and a state that allows capital punishment for people who did not kill anyone or did not intend to kill.
Wood was convicted and sentenced to death under what’s called the law of parties, which has been in effect in Texas since the 1970s. It states that a person who “solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit an offense” is also criminally liable for that offense.
Under the law, prosecutors are not required to prove that a defendant had any part in committing a crime, or even intended to commit it. Jurors only need to find that there was a plan to commit a crime and that the defendant should have anticipated that the crime would occur.
In Wood’s case, he was sitting in a pickup outside a Texaco convenience store in Kerrville, Tex., in January 1996, when Daniel Reneau went inside and shot and killed the store clerk with a .22-caliber handgun.
Wood’s supporters say he was under the impression that Reneau, a drifter he had met months earlier, was only going to buy food and drinks.
But they also agree that Wood is not completely innocent.
Court records say he was involved in a scheme with Reneau and the store’s assistant manager to steal a safe that they believed contained thousands of dollars. While the others had backed out, Reneau took it upon himself to steal the safe, court records say.
Based on testimony from Wood’s then-girlfriend, he asked Reneau to not bring his gun before the two drove to the convenience store that day. Reneau did anyway, without Wood’s knowledge.
Source: The Washington Post, Kristine Guerra, August 12, 2016
Online Petition: Jeff Wood was given an execution date of August 24th, 2016. Jeff is factually innocent of murder, and has been sitting on death row for 19 years, for a murder he did NOT commit.
Your help is needed to save the life of a man who was wrongfully convicted of murder.
Click here to sign the online petition urging Governor Abbott to not only commute the death sentence of Jeffrey Wood, but to release him with time served as he has served over 19 years for a murder he did NOT commit.
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