Texas: Evangelical Leaders Try to Prevent Execution of Death-Row Inmate

Amanda Casanova | Religion Today Contributing Writer | Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Texas: Evangelical Leaders Try to Prevent Execution of Death-Row Inmate


Nearly 50 evangelical leaders released an open letter this week asking to stop the execution of a death row inmate.

The group of evangelical leaders is hoping to stop the Aug. 24 execution of Jeff Wood. Wood is described as having intellectual and emotional disabilities.

Wood drove the getaway car in a January 1996 robbery. His former roommate, Danny Reneau, was convicted of shooting petrol station assistant, Kris Keeran, during the robbery. Reneau was executed in 2002.

Wood was convicted under Texas’ law of parties, which makes him equally responsible for crimes committed by his accomplice that “should have been anticipated.”

"Our faith compels us to speak out in this case, where a looming execution date threatens the life of an individual with significant mental impairments who never should have been sentenced to death," the group wrote.

"Officials have a moral obligation to rectify this mistake and stop this execution while they still can...It deeply troubles us when the criminal justice system concludes that some of the most vulnerable in society can be executed and disposed of," the letter said. "All are made in God's image, and as a society we especially must protect those with mental illness and disabilities. Public officials must not shirk this responsibility. We urge them to act now to spare Wood's life."

Wood was to be executed in 2008, but five hours before the execution was scheduled, a San Antonio federal judge issued a stay of execution for a hearing to determine whether Wood was mentally competent.

 

Publication date: August 9, 2016

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