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Man who’s been on death row for 28 years explains what typical day is like

Man who’s been on death row for 28 years explains what typical day is like

Jeffery Lee Wood was sentenced to death in 1998 for capital murder in 1998, despite never pulling the trigger

Jeffery Lee Wood was sentenced to death for his role in the murder of Kriss Keeran on March 2 1998.

Every day since that sentence was passed, he's been sitting on death row waiting for execution.

Over a series of correspondences with LADbible, he explained how those days take shape, as well as how he's dealt with the two occasions that his number has been called by the state, and his hopes that the day of execution may never come.

Wood wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger and killed Keeran, but he did pay the price for his actions that day at the Texaco garage in Kerrville, Texas.

As it happened, Wood wasn’t even in the building at the time that his accomplice Daniel Reneau fatally shot him.

Despite that – as well as questions about whether he was mentally fit to stand trial – Wood was sentenced to death for capital murder under the law of parties.

For his role in the same crime, Reneau was executed in 2002.

Jeffrey Lee Wood is currently on death row in Texas.
Terri Been

The controversial law in Texas states that someone can be criminally responsible for the actions of another person under certain circumstances.

The law states: "[I]f in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all conspirators are guilty of the felony actually committed, though having no intent to commit it, if the offense was committed in furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy."

In short, Wood never fired a weapon, but he was sentenced to death nonetheless.

Over the course of the last 28 years, Wood has stared down two execution dates, with one coming down to the final few hours, and another cancelled days beforehand.

Whilst he harbours hopes that his sentence may one day be commuted to life, execution remains a real possibility for the 49-year-old.

Speaking via secure messaging with LADbible, Wood explained what his daily life on Texas’ death row is like, as well as his thoughts on the incident that put him in prison and his hopes for the future.

As you might imagine, a day on death row is pretty bleak and extremely repetitive.

Wood said: “The whole farm [prison] starts at 1:30am, but in [general] population they send them a little and then give them a certain time to eat, then tell them to get out, then send in the next pod, and so on.

“Now, on death row they start feeding us at the same time but they do it by pods, so when they start at the end of the building, the [inmates at the] front might not get to eat until 3:00am.

“It’s mandatory, so you get woken up if you aren’t already up, like I [usually am].

Wood has been behind bars for 28 years.
Martin Brayley/Alamy Stock Photo

“Then, lunch is the same way, we get fed at 9/9:30am, if the other end goes first we get fed at around 10:30/11:00am, and the same with supper at 2:30/4:30pm depending on who goes first.

“For my day, I go to sleep, I wake up for a shower or rec [recreation] at 6/7:00am. I am supposed to get two hours...

“Then, I write to people if I get mail or emails, if not I listen to the radio or stand at my door and watch TV in the day room in front of our cells.

“I may read or draw or paint, depending on my mood, but that’s how my days go, then it starts all over again – boring, huh?”

Despite his death sentence, Wood remains hopeful that his sentence might one day be commuted to life, although he does admit that execution remains a distinct possibility.

“I don’t let this place get to me – I have no say so [and] no control so why worry about it?” he explained.

“Either I will get [executed] or I will get life and get out [of death row], I don’t dwell on the past and I am not a fortune teller so I don’t let myself get my hopes up just for them to be torn apart.

“I am not going to allow them to torture me like that. I am not going to let them turn me violent and change who I am, which is a good person.

“I am not going to let them turn me into a mental zombie either.”

In 2008 and 2016, Wood was given scheduled execution dates, in the end he was issued a stay of execution on both occasions.

Jeffrey accepts that he may still be executed, but harbours hopes of a commutation to a life sentence.
Tracy King

On facing those dates, Wood said: “The first time [I had an execution date] I came within three or four hours.

“I was waiting for them to bring me the phone and my last meal. The second one was [called off] four or five days before.

“I really didn’t pay attention. I don’t let this place get to me like some, I don’t live in a fantasy world either.

“Either they will kill us or we will get life.”

He added: “Do I understand why I am here? No, and I never will, because I didn’t do this crime [the actual shooting of Keeran] so ask yourself, can you comprehend how they can give me the death penalty when I didn’t kill anyone?

“If all goes well, I will get off death row – I’ve got [support from] the DA, the judge, the police chief, the Texas representative...and the victim’s family trying to get me off the row, but after 28 years I know not to get my hopes up.

“But it is looking better.

“[It’s] still out of my control so I don’t let it affect me like it does my family and my pen pals.”

Featured Image Credit: Supplied

Topics: US News, Crime, True Crime