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  • But I didn't shoot the guy...

    The 1996 robbery of Kerrville's Goldstar Texaco was far more than a nickel-and-dime job.

    Inside the convenience store safe lay $11,000 in cash and checks. But when David Reneau, a stocky, 20-year-old nurse's aide, pulled a pistol and announced the stickup, everything went wrong.

    As Reneau's partner, Jeffery Wood, waited in the getaway car, the bandit fatally shot store clerk Kriss Keeran in the face.

    Six years later, Reneau was executed for the murder. Today, unless courts or Gov. Rick Perry intervene, Wood also will be put to death.

    Wood's case was a rare death sentence under Texas' law of parties, which holds accomplices in murders just as culpable as the person who pulled the trigger or wielded the knife. The case has prompted protests by those who contend that the law and the punishment are archaic.

    "Put them together," said David Fathi, U.S. program director for Human Rights Watch, "and you have a situation that the rest of the world views with shock and incomprehension."

    If Wood is executed, he would be at least the fourth murder accomplice — as opposed to actual killer — put to death through Texas' law of parties in recent years. The law has been part of the state penal code since at least 1879.

    "It's a pretty traditional criminal law that accomplices and co-conspirators are equally held culpable," said University of Houston law professor Sandra Thompson, a criminal law specialist. "You don't have to specifically agree to commit a killing. You agree to commit the target crime. Then any other crimes that are foreseeable, you're responsible."


    Role of accomplice
    Supporters of the law, she said, suggest that the mere presence of an accomplice can embolden a criminal to kill. Under this theory, a crime might not have been committed without the presence of an accomplice to support the act.

    University of Texas law professor Jordan Steiker, however, argued that the law's application to Wood "flies in the face of a broader effort to reserve the death penalty for extreme cases."

    Fathi said prosecutors in Reneau's case mocked defense attorneys when they tried to deflect responsibility onto Wood.

    "They argued clearly and unambiguously that Reneau was the bad actor," he said. "Then, after getting the death sentence, at Wood's trial they essentially conflated the two men. They argued that they were in this together."

    Kerr County District Attorney Bruce Curry, whose office prosecuted the case, did not return telephone calls.

    The law of parties, derived from English common law, is on the books in 24 of 36 American death penalty states, but internationally, Fathi said, it is increasingly rare. England abolished it 51 years ago.

    The U.S. Supreme Court, ruling in law of parties cases from Florida and Arizona, has sent mixed signals.

    In 1982, the court reversed the death sentence for Earl Enmund, the getaway driver in a Florida robbery turned deadly. It noted that Enmund did not kill, attempt to kill or intend to kill or to facilitate a murder.

    Five years later, the court held two Arizona brothers culpable in a quadruple homicide committed by their father and another man whom the brothers had armed and helped escape from prison. The brothers, the justices held, "could have anticipated the use of lethal force."

    Neither the Texas Attorney General's Office nor the Harris County District Attorney's Office could say how many capital law of parties cases originated in Harris County, which leads the state in sending killers to death row.

    Among those, however, was the case of Carlos Santana and James Meanes, who killed security guard Oliver Flores in an unsuccessful $1.1 million Houston armored car robbery in 1981. Santana was executed in 1993; Meanes, convicted as the triggerman, in 1998.


    Montgomery County case
    In a Montgomery County case, Joseph Starvaggi and G.W. Green were executed and Glenn Martin was sentenced to life in prison, after they were convicted of the 1975 shooting of Magnolia resident John Denson while burglarizing his home. Starvaggi was convicted as the shooter.

    Gaining greater public attention were the law of parties-related cases of Joseph Nichols of Houston and Kenneth Foster of San Antonio.

    Nichols was executed in 2007 for the 1980 murder of convenience store clerk Claude Shaffer. Nichols' partner, Willie Williams, identified as the triggerman, was executed in 1995.

    At Nichols' first trial, prosecutors tried him under the law of parties. He was convicted, but the jury split in assessing punishment, so Nichols was retried.

    In the second trial, prosecutors largely abandoned the law of parties strategy. "They put on that he was the triggerman," said his attorney, J. Clifford Gunter III. "That's what makes Nichols a little unique."

    Foster was sentenced to die after being convicted under the law of parties in a San Antonio robbery-murder. His attorneys argued that he had only been the getaway driver, and had not anticipated the killing.

    Perry commuted Foster's sentence to life, although he said he intervened only because Foster and a co-defendant had been convicted in a single trial. Foster's partner, Mauriceo Brown, was executed in 2006.


    Against commutation
    In Wood's case, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously has voted to recommend the condemned man's sentence not be commuted. Perry, however, can still act on his own.

    Wood and Reneau were roommates and knew their victim. For two weeks they planned the crime, even talking with Keeran and another store employee about staging a fake robbery. That plan fell through, prompting Wood and Reneau to undertake an actual stickup. They hauled off a safe and a cash drawer.

    Wood initially was found incompetent to stand trial. After a period of treatment for mental illness, he was found competent, tried and convicted.

    During the punishment phase, he banned his attorneys from introducing character witnesses on his behalf or cross-examining prosecution witnesses. He has not challenged the law of parties in his federal appeals.

    [email protected], [email protected]

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5956797.html
    54
    give him the needle
    66.67%
    36
    stay, and life in prison
    27.78%
    15
    The rule is unfair
    1.85%
    1
    He is a poor, innocent victim of the system
    3.70%
    2

    The poll is expired.

    ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
    Oscar Wilde

  • #2
    This guy was more then involed. He KNEW what was going on, he had even planned it for some time. I say he is guilty as sin, give hm the needle and vote him off this island we call earth.

    This guy has used the system and the "poor me" for too long and every wrong reason. I think the law serves the purpuse that it was meant for, your part of this crime and you know the consequences.
    WEll, come 6 PM he will be worm food. No appeals left!
    ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
    Oscar Wilde

    Comment


    • #3
      He knew his buddy wasn't going in to buy a snickers bar. He was an integral part of the plan. Fry 'em or whatever Texas does to murderers.
      “We don't disagree, you are wrong. Until you have a clue what you are talking about we can't disagree.” - cgh6366

      Comment


      • #4
        There was a case in which which two guys robbed a bank. A cop shot and killed one of the guys while they were trying get away. The other guy was convicted for the killing of the first guy (felony murder, even though it was his accomplice and he clearly hadn't intended that the accomplice be killed), but not given the death penalty, because the homicide was not willful on his part. Commit a felony and you're responsible for the consequences, but not necessarily as much so as if you'd clearly intended or directly caused them.

        Comment


        • #5
          texaschickee, I don't agree with the death penalty, however I am not foolish enough to believe this scumbag is an innocent victim. He should never see the light of day again.
          What is Perseverance?
          -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
          -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
          -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


          BOP - BPA - ICE

          Comment


          • #6
            In this case, a murder conviction is correct, death penalty is not. Life in prison.

            Edit: I hadn't seen Monty's post originally, but his reasoning is the same as mine.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkcX_5hZN6U



            http://www.killology.com/sheep_dog.htm

            Comment


            • #7
              Wow, tough one. I think it's a bit much to give him the death penalty, give him life in prison instead. You won't catch me protesting though, have to keep in mind who you're stick up for...

              Comment


              • #8
                looks like the eecution was delayed

                he knew exactly what his buddy was up to

                Comment


                • #9
                  Disagree on the death sentence and will even go one step further and say that a sentence of less than life might be appropriate as well. A very lengthy one for sure, but not life.

                  I guess the issue I have is that there are people who commit first degree murder and are sentenced to life and in some cases less than that. Then there are those who somehow get 2nd degree murder and serve even less time. Remember the movie "Bully"? All the females involved are free and they specifically planned a murder, more than just a possibility in their minds. So to fry this guy seems too much. Then again, maybe I shouldn't be sympathizing with someone that would even consider being involved in a robbery!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I still feel we need electrocution or the firing squad.
                    Deputy Josh Ball - BCSO
                    PSO Josh Ball - Lou Int'l Airport
                    Kentucky

                    The views expressed in my commentary is that of my opinion and do not reflect that of my employers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bcso974 View Post
                      I still feel we need electrocution or the firing squad.
                      Six of the Texas 7 were rightfully sent to prison but not all were the ones that killed Officer Hawkins. This guy shouldn't be any different. He needs to be put to death. Nothing personal just business!
                      Last edited by Rush817; 08-24-2008, 04:21 AM.
                      Strong Body, Sharp Mind And Good Tactics!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Needle.

                        "It's a pretty traditional criminal law that accomplices and co-conspirators are equally held culpable," said University of Houston law professor Sandra Thompson, a criminal law specialist. "You don't have to specifically agree to commit a killing. You agree to commit the target crime. Then any other crimes that are foreseeable, you're responsible."
                        That's right.
                        The law of parties, derived from English common law, is on the books in 24 of 36 American death penalty states, but internationally, Fathi said, it is increasingly rare. England abolished it 51 years ago.
                        Why do we here the weak argument that because another country has a particular rule, we should adopt it?

                        Give him the needle.
                        "That's right man, we've got mills here that'll blow that heap of your's right off the road."

                        "Beautiful Daughter of the Stars."(it's my home now)

                        >>>>> A Time for Choosing <<<<<

                        Retired @ 31yr 2mo as of 0000 hrs. 01-01-10. Yeah, all in all, it was good.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by luckydog View Post
                          looks like the eecution was delayed

                          he knew exactly what his buddy was up to
                          DING DING DING


                          He knew and even knew the guy that was killed. He deserves the needle as much as the one that did the shooting.
                          ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
                          Oscar Wilde

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            from his TDCJ file


                            Summary of incident
                            On 01/02/1996, in Kerrville, Wood and one co-defendant robbed a service station, murdering the white male attendant in the process. Wood and the co-defendant took the store safe, a cash box, and a VCR containing a security tape. The value of cash and checks was estimated to be $11,350.
                            ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
                            Oscar Wilde

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              from the newspaper:

                              http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/5955401.html

                              Reneau and Wood knew Keeran, 31. Wood's lawyers said his mental illness allowed him to be easily manipulated by Reneau, who they called "the principal actor" in the shooting.

                              Lucy Wilke, the Kerr County assistant district attorney who prosecuted Wood, described him after his 1998 trial as "not a dummy" and called the slaying "cold-blooded, premeditated."

                              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.

                              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. Evidence showed the pair had planned the robbery for a couple of weeks and unsuccessfully tried recruiting Keeran and another employee to stage a phony robbery.


                              asny time you have a gun, and a plan to rob a stop*n* rob store, you know its going to be a huge possibility that the gun will be fired.
                              He knew. He bragged. He even took the tape and showd, then burned it. the person he shoed put the fire out to help the cops.
                              (and yes I'm still looking for that link)
                              ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
                              Oscar Wilde

                              Comment

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