AUSTIN - A death row inmate's execution has been put on hold by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, just one day after supporters of Jeff Wood delivered petitions to the state Capitol to save him from execution.
Wood was sentenced to death in connection with the shooting death of a convenience store clerk during a robbery in 1996.
Court documents say that Wood's attorney objected to the sentence on eight claims, including claims that his sentence was obtained in violation of due process based on false testimony and false scientific evidence.
"After reviewing applicant's subsequent application, we find that his third and fourth allegations satisfy the requirements... Accordingly, we remand those two claims to the trial court for resolution," the appelate court wrote.
"The court did the right thing by staying Mr. Wood's execution," said Wood's attorney, Jared Tyler. "The man who committed murder was executed in 2002. Justice is not served by executing Mr. Wood, who was outside the building when it happened and who had no criminal history. Three former jurors have said they feel the government’s presentation to them of a discredited psychiatrist who predicted with certainty, and without evaluating Mr. Wood, that Mr. Wood would be criminally violent in the future was unfair.
Wood's brother-in-law, Steven Been, says Wood never killed anyone and that his co-defendant Daniel Reneau is solely to blame.
Reneau was executed in 2002.
Wood was convicted under Texas' law of parties that says anyone who promotes or assists someone in committing a crime is criminally responsible.
Been says Wood never stood a chance in court.
"He wasn't given any proper representation - not adequate representation at his trial,” said Been. “The judge deemed him… incompetent to represent himself. So he had no defense."
Family members and others gathered outside the Capitol on Thursday before taking the petitions to the Governor's office. The petitions the group delivered contained more than 10,500 signatures.
Wood's execution date was scheduled for next Wednesday. Petitioners want Governor Abbott to grant clemency.