Taken from a press release of the Texas Defender Service
STAY OF EXECUTION GRANTED IN TEXAS DEATH PENALTY CASE OF MENTALLY-ILL INMATE WHO WAS NOT TRIGGERMAN
WOOD EXECUTION HALTED BASED ON TEXAS STATE COURTS FAILURE TO PROVIDE DUE PROCESS ON ISSUES RELATING TO WOOD'S MENTAL ILLNESS
Austin -- Today, the Federal District Court granted a stay of execution in the case of Jeff Wood to allow the court to consider compelling evidence that Jeff Wood is too mentally ill to be executed. The Court held that the Texas state courts have not carefully reviewed the question of Wood's competence and that a stay of execution is necessary to ensure that Wood's mental health issues are fully presented and considered by the courts. [...]
The Federal District Court authorized an attorney and the assistance of mental health experts, pointing out that the Texas state courts had not complied with the basic due process that the United States Supreme Court required in another Texas case - that of Scott Panetti, a mentally ill death row inmate with a 20 year history of schizophrenia, who was permitted to represent himself at trial dressed in a purple cowboy costume.
In its 20-page order, the Court stated, "With all due respect, a system that requires an insane person to first make "a substantial showing" of his own lack of mental capacity without the assistance of counsel or a mental health expert, in order to obtain such assistance is, by definition, an insane system."
Prosecutors have indicated they will not appeal today's decision. Yesterday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied the application for clemency on a vote of 7-0 despite the mental health evidence and fact that it is undisputed that Jeff Wood did not kill the victim in this case, but rather was outside the building in a car at the time of the murder. The actual killer, Daniel Reneau, was already executed by the State of Texas in 2002. [...]
A neuropsychologist who evaluated Wood's competence to stand trial said that Mr. Wood "ha[d] a delusional system, an inability to grasp the reality surrounding the issues specific to this case, his role in it, in the crime, as well as other things that present a direct threat to his own well-being, his own sense of self."