Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Save Jeff Wood event and execution of Rodriguez

PLEASE, we need more folks to sign up to go to Austin on Saturday for a noon rally for Jeff Wood. Jeff's execution date is next Thursday and we really need to take it up a notch. Folks will meet on 11th street in front of the Capitol and we will march on Congress to 6th Street and then come back up Congress to the Capitol for a Rally.

Jeff is innocent, a victim of the Law of Parties and there are a few things you can do to help.
  1. If anyone is in contact with any Texas House members about writing a clemency letter, you can let any House member know that they can contact Elliott Naishtat's office and sign on to the clemency letter that he is drafting and planning to send next week. This must be done on Thursday as on Friday the family will take all letters to the Board of Pardons and Paroles which will decide clemency. Of course, if any state rep wants to write their own letter, they can do that instead of signing on to Naishtat's.
  2. Senator Ellis has not signed a letter for Jeff yet, so it is unlikely other Senators will write one, but you could ask.
  3. If you know anyprominent people, ask them to contact the Board and governor. We already have letters from Sister Helen Prejean, Susan Sarandon and Ramsey Clark.
  4. Come with us to Austin Saturday. We will leave from SHAPE at 8 AM.
  5. Make your own calls to the Board and the governor.
  6. Write letters to the editor about Jeff.
For all pertinent information, see

Also, we will go to Huntsville on today, Thursday. Please join us. If you cannot go to Hutnsville, listen to the kPFT News at 5:00 PM and them on the Internet listen from 6:00-7:00 to KPFT's HD2 station for Ray Hill's Execution Watch, produced by Elizabeth Stein and Otis Maclay.
Here's the scoop:
EXECUTION WATCH will air 6-7 p.m. tomorrow, Aug. 14, when the state is scheduled to kill Michael Rodriguez.

The program, which will provide commentary on and live coverage of this latest state-sponsored homicide on KPFT HD-2 90.1 FM Houston, or on the internet, where streaming will start promptly at 6 p.m. CDT at and

Rodriguez will be the eighth prisoner put to death this year and the second of two this week in the most active death penalty state in the U.S. On Tuesday, Leon Dorsey was executed. Two more are to die next week

Rodriguez will also be the first surviving member of the so-called Texas 7 -- all of them now on death row -- to be executed. He and six others were involved in the slaying of a police officer following a prison escape that prompted a nationwide manhunt.

They were captured in Colorado in January 2001 after some six weeks as fugitives. One killed himself as authorities closed in.

Ray Hill will host, Gloria Rubac will provide live coverage from outside the death chamber in Huntsville, and attorney Jim Sinclair will provide legal commentary.

Special guests will be Billy Wayne Sinclair, who spent seven years on Louisiana's death row, J.C. Mosier, administrative chief of the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office and a former Houston Police officer, and Brian Olsen, executive director of the correctional officers' union, which has blamed a host of recent prison problems, including escapes, on under staffing.

Rodriguez was condemned because he was a party to the slaying, regardless of who pulled the trigger. Another law-of-parties defendant, Jeffery Wood, is scheduled for execution Aug. 21. That means the state of Texas is set to execute two people in one week's time who did not kill but, rather, were condemned under its controversial law-of-parties statute.

One reason Rodriguez's execution comes relatively soon after the crime for which he was condemned is that he is a death-penalty volunteer.

At the time of his escape, Rodriguez was serving life for arranging the murder of his wife. He worked for more than a year to convince the courts he was competent to drop his appeals and volunteer for execution. A judge signed off in September on his decision to die.

Rodriguez will be the 413th prisoner to be executed since Texas resumed capital punishment in 1982 and the 174th since Rick Perry became governor in 2001. His will be the 20th execution in the United States this year and the 1119th overall since the nation resumed executions Jan. 17, 1977.

1 comment:

dudleysharp said...

Jeff Wood: Robbery/murder and the law of parties
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below

"After initially denying involvement in the robbery, (Jeff) Wood admitted in a statement to police that he knew Reneau was going to rob the gas station, that Reneau planned to bring a gun and might use it if (Kriss) Keeran didn't cooperate, according to court opinions." (1)

"Evidence showed the pair had planned the robbery for a couple of weeks and unsuccessfully tried recruiting Keeran (a "friend" of Wood and Reneau) and another employee to stage a phony robbery." (2)

In other words, both Wood and Reneau had planned to murder Keeran, long before the robbery. Keeran knew both Wood and Reneau. Their failure to recruit Keeran into the robbery meant that they would have to murder Keeran if they decided to go through with it. They did.

What does armed robbery mean? Normally, it means :"I've got a gun. If you don't do what I say, I'll kill you." In this case, it meant that Keeran would be murdered. Period.

"Lucy Wilke, the Kerr County assistant district attorney, who prosecuted Wood, described Wood after his 1998 trial as "not a dummy" and called the slaying "cold-blooded, premeditated."(2) "(She) called Wood "the mastermind of this senseless murder," noting that Wood told his brother, who was not implicated, to destroy the surveillance tape after watching it together, according to the San Antonio Express." (1)

Evidence showed Reneau entered the store before dawn on Jan. 2, 1996, and fatally shot Keeran once in the face with a .22-caliber pistol. Then joined by Wood, they robbed the store of more than $11,000 in cash and checks. Both were arrested within 24 hours. (2)

"According to court records, Wood was waiting outside the store and came in after Keeran was shot, then both fled with the store safe, a cash box and a video recorder containing a security tape showing the robbery and slaying. "(2)

"Wood's lawyers don't dispute he deserves punishment but argue he doesn't deserve to die for a murder that occurred while he was waiting in a car outside the store." (2)

He deserved punishment? Why? Because Wood planned and helped to carry out the robbery/murder, making him culpable for the robbery/murder and, thus, justly sentenced to death.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 7-0 to not recommend Gov. Rick Perry commute Wood's death sentence. (2) For good reasons.

For those that wrongly complain about the law of parties:

"What do you think is going to happen when a guy goes into a convenience store to rob it and he’s armed with a gun, and your job is to help him commit that crime?” said Mary Lou Leary, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime. “It’s a very high-risk activity.”(3)

Put another way, don't commit an armed robbery when you know your going to have to murder the victim because he knows the two parties robbing him.

Better yet, don't commit armed robbery, at all. You might end up on death row.

Texas Law of Parties: A person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by
the conduct of another if acting with intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense, he solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the other person to commit the offense or if, in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit
one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all conspirators are guilty of the felony actually committed, though having no intent to commit it, if the offense was committed in furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy. (4)

Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part, is approved with proper attribution.

Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail, 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

(1) "Texas Panel Won't Halt Execution of Accomplice", by Scott Michels, ABC News, Aug. 20, 2008

(2) "Death date nears for accomplice in Hill Country murder", by Michael Graczyk, By MICHAEL GRACZYK Associated Press, Houston Chronicle, Aug. 19, 2008, 4:41PM

(3) Should murder accomplices face execution? By John Gramlich,, August 13, 2008