Almost 50 Evangelical leaders from Texas and around the country called upon state officials to stop the execution of Jeff Wood. In a letter released Monday, the religious leaders urged Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Board of Paroles and Pardons to grant Wood a new sentencing hearing, saying he “never should have been sentenced to death.”
Texas is scheduled to execute Wood on August 24th for his role in the murder of Kris Keeran. But Wood wasn’t even inside the gas station where Keeran was working as the clerk. He was sitting in a “get-away” truck outside. Wood had no previous criminal history and suffers from borderline intellectual functioning and mental illness.
“As the getaway driver, Wood committed a crime, but not one deserving the death penalty,” the letter says. “The death penalty, we are told, is reserved for the most egregious crimes. Wood’s actions – which did not include directly committing a murder or intending to – simply do not fall into this category.”
Signatories include national Evangelical leaders such as Rev. Sam Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Willow Creek co-Founder Lynne Hybels, Dr. Antipas Harris of Regent University School of Divinity, and Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice. The Baptist Standard also highlighted the several Baptist ministers who signed the letter.
Wood’s attorneys have also filed an official application for clemency to Board of Pardons and Paroles, who have recommended commutations for two people who, like Wood, did not take a life themselves.
Photo credit: SaveJeffWood.com