On August 21, Texas is poised to do the unthinkable: execute a mentally ill young man who the state knows killed no one. In fact, Jeff is facing execution for a murder that he was not even present to witness. He was found guilty of a murder committed by David Reneau. David killed Kriss Keeran while robbing a Texaco convenience store in Kerrville, Texas. It happened on January 2, 1992, when Jeff was 22 years old, a mentally challenged young man. It is sad that mental patients and people with learning disabilities like Jeff are often easily led like little children. Jeff was abused during his early childhood, leaving him with a submissive personality. How hard was it for Daniel Reneau to get Jeff to accompany him to a robbery? Wood's defense attorneys stated in a clemency brief early this month, "Reneau -- the only person inside the store and who carried a weapon -- alone made the decision to take Keeran's life. Mr. Wood was outside the store in his brother's truck." Daniel Reneau carried a gun that Jeff never knew he had and committed a murder that Jeff didn't see occur. Although Daniel Reneau has already been executed for murdering Keeran, today Jeff will also be executed. Initially, Jeff was found not mentally fit to stand trial. He was admitted into a mental hospital and a couple of weeks later was found 'trial ready'. But one could argue whether Jeff was really competent at his trial, considering the way he tied his lawyers' hands as they tried to defend him. "Bowing to Mr. Wood's emotional and irrational insistence, Mr. Wood's appointed lawyers declined to cross-examine any witnesses or present any evidence on Mr. Wood's behalf," his appeals attorneys argue. "Mr. Wood's trial attorneys called Mr. Wood's actions a 'gesture of suicide.'" (Quote source: http://www.alternet.org/rights/95690/stop_the_execution:_jeff_wood_faces_death_tomorrow_for_a_murder_he_didn't_commit/) I received a message a couple of days ago from a man who identified himself as Daniel Reneau's brother, Ben Reneau. He implored us to save Jeff, saying Jeff's execution is wrong. He expressed regret that his brother, Daniel Reneau, did not make a statement to clear Jeff of the murder. The truth is that a statement from Daniel probably would not matter to Texas, as the state acknowledges that Jeff actually killed no one. Jeff was sentenced to die under the Law of Parties, which makes all parties to a crime equally guilty of the crime. Perhaps they are like the people in this satire and believe it is simply time for Texas to have another execution, because executions are fun for some folks:
Texas Pardons and Parole Board decided not to grant clemency. The fate of this condemned mental patient is now up to Governor Rick Perry. August 21 is a sad day for justice if Jeff Wood is executed.
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
P.O. Box 7222, Atlanta, GA 30357