Texas district attorney who prosecuted Jeff Wood now wants him off death row
The prosecutor in the death penalty case of a man who didn’t kill anyone has asked the parole board and Gov. Greg Abbott to change his sentence to life in prison.
By Jolie Mccullough
December 7, 2017
— ExcerptSix days before his execution, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stopped it and sent the case back to the trial court in Kerr County to review Wood’s claim that a jury was improperly persuaded to hand down a death sentence because of testimony from a highly criticized psychiatrist nicknamed “Dr. Death.”
Wood’s lawyers claimed the psychiatrist, Dr. James Grigson, lied to jurors about how many cases he had testified in and how often he found a defendant would be a future danger. The lawyers claimed he almost always found they would be. A person can only be sentenced to death if a jury unanimously agrees that he or she would present a danger.
In her letter, Wilke cites the issues with Grigson’s testimony as reason for requesting a change of sentence. She claims she was unaware at the time of the trial that he had been expelled from the American Psychiatric Association and Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians.
“Had I known about Dr. Grigson’s issues with said organizations, I would not have used him as the State’s expert witness in this case on the issue of future dangerousness,” she wrote.
Wilke said she wants clemency for Wood because of Grigson’s testimony and other factors including: the fact that he wasn’t the shooter, his documented history of low intelligence and his nonviolent history in and out of prison. She mentioned that three jurors have submitted affidavits saying they would not have agreed Wood presented a future danger if they’d been aware of Grigson’s issues.
In April, the Kerr County court paused its review of the Grigson claims after Wood’s lawyers said they and the state’s lawyers were in discussions about a “possible settlement,” according to a Wednesday court order by the Court of Criminal Appeals. The order directed the trial court to resume its review regardless of the prosecution’s request to leadership that Wood’s sentence be changed.
— End Excerpt
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