Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Death Penalty News: Texas executes Steven Woods

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Texas executes Steven Woods

Steven Woods
Former drifter and drug dealer Steven Michael Woods was executed Tuesday evening for a double murder more than a decade ago north of Dallas.

Woods, 31, acknowledged he was present in May 2001 when Ronald Whitehead, 21, and Bethena Brosz, 19, were fatally shot and had their throats slashed near a golf course in Denton County but insisted he was not involved and blamed murders on another man, his friend Marcus Rhodes.

Woods was tried first for the slayings, was convicted and sentenced to die. Rhodes then pleaded guilty and accepted a life prison term, avoiding a possible death sentence.

"You're not about to witness an execution, you're about to witness a murder ... I've never killed anybody, never," Woods said. "This whole thing is wrong ... Warden, if you're going to murder someone, go ahead and do it. Pull that trigger."

Woods was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m., 10 minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing into his arms.

About eight hours earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from his attorneys, clearing the way for the 10th execution in Texas this year. Another lethal injection is scheduled for Thursday and two more were set for next week.

Woods had argued before the high court his legal help early in the appeals process was deficient and kept him from raising a claim of jury bias from his trial. The justices, without comment, turned him down.

In an interview last week outside death row, Woods told The Associated Press he was terrified of execution, was optimistic it wouldn't happen but was "fairly realistic as well."

"I've seen a lot of my friends walk to the gurney," he said.

Source: MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press, Sept. 13, 2011

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