source: Texas Tribune
published: 19 August 2016
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has halted the execution of Jeff Wood — a man who never killed anyone — six days before he was set to die by lethal injection. The order was issued on his 43rd birthday.
The court issued a brief, two-page order Friday afternoon sending the case back to the original trial court so it can examine Wood’s claim that a jury was improperly persuaded to sentence him to death by testimony from a highly criticized psychiatrist nicknamed “Dr. Death.” The order creates the possibility that Wood’s death sentence could be thrown out, though not his conviction.
“The court did the right thing by staying Mr. Wood’s execution,” Wood’s attorney Jared Tyler said shortly after the order came down. “[He] is grateful for the opportunity to prove that his death sentence is unwarranted.”
Wood’s upcoming execution has gained national attention and highlighted 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 actual killing.
Recently, conservative state representatives have spoken out and written letters to the parole board in hopes of saving Wood’s life.