I am rabidly pro death penalty but this one even has me wondering what we are doing. View attachment 86052 A small-town Texan, Danny Wood is quick to tell you he’s not against the death penalty — but he doesn’t think the state should execute his son. After all, Jeff Wood never killed anyone. Early onJan. 2, 1996, JeffWood sat in a truck outside a Kerrville gas station while his friend Daniel Reneau went inside to steal a safe said to be full from the holiday weekend, according to court documents. When the clerk, Kriss Keeran, didn’t comply or respond to threats, Reneau shot him dead. Reneau was sentenced to death and executed in 2002. On Aug. 24, Wood’s own execution is scheduled. He was sentenced to death under 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. Activists and Wood’s lawyers are scrambling to try to stop his execution. A rally was held at the governor’s mansion last month, and a petition was sent to the Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles askingthe board and Gov. Greg Abbott tocommute Wood’s sentence to life in prison. And a new, 100-page appeal was filed last week in state district court and the state Court of Criminal Appeals requesting a new sentencing hearing. “I’m not aware of another case in which a person has been executed with as minimal participation and culpability as Jeff,” said Jared Tyler, Wood’s lawyer. “It’s a national first in that regard if the state does actually execute him.” In the current efforts to keep Wood out of the death chamber, however, the law of parties plays only a small role. Tyler and Wood’s other lawyers are focusing their appeals on his mental competence and, more recently, testimony from a highly criticized psychiatrist nicknamed “Dr. Death” who predicted in Wood’s sentencing hearing that he would be a future danger in prison. Wood and Reneau became friends shortlybefore the murder andlived in a trailer within walking distance of the Texaco that was robbed, according to Wood’s latest appeal. The two often visited the store and became friendly with Keeran and the assistant manager, William Bunker. The four discussed stealing the safe, and Bunker suggested doing it the day after the holiday weekend. He later testified he didn’t take the planning seriously. Reneau and Wood did, though. And when Keeran made clear that he wouldn’t help them, things got complicated. According to Nadia Mireles, Wood’s then-girlfriend, Wood told Reneau to leave his gun at home the morning of the murder. She said Reneau put the gun down, but picked it back up when Wood left the room. Her testimony was not included in Wood’s trial, but it was in Reneau’s. Prosecutors argued Wood knew Reneau would kill Keeran if he didn’t cooperate with the robbery. If true, thatwould make him guilty of capital murder under the law of parties, which states that a person can be charged witha crime he didn’t commit if he “should have anticipated it as a result” of another crime. In taped interrogations after his arrest, Wood initially “downplayed” his knowledge of Reneau’s plan to kill Keeran, according to a district court opinion. He later said he knew of the plan but was still surprised by the shooting. “I was hoping [Kriss] would give up the money because he said he would,” Wood said in his interrogation. “We had planned it, but it was a surprise, a surprise that he did shoot him.” After he heard the shooting, Wood entered the store, and he and Reneau removed the VCR, the security footage and the safe. Kerr County decided to seek the death penalty for both Reneau and Wood in Keeran’s death — a rare move.