Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Posthumous Impending Execution of Steven Woods

"The killer is Marcus Rhodes, not Mr. Woods. It's Marcus' gun. It was found in his room, under his bed. If he were here in this courtroom, I would be pointing at him, telling you that over and over, but I don't have that opportunity." -- Denton County Judge Jerry Parr

"I think the death penalty is a crime no matter what the circumstances, and it is particularly awful in the Steven Woods case. I strongly oppose the execution of Steven Woods on September 13 2011." -- Noam Chomsky (8/26/11)

"You're not about to witness an execution, you are about to witness a murder. I am strapped down for something Marcus Rhodes did. I never killed anybody, never. I love you, Mom. I love you, Tali. This is wrong. This whole thing is wrong. I can't believe you are going to let Marcus Rhodes walk around free. Justice has let me down. Alex Calhoun completely screwed this up. I love you too, Mom. Well Warden, if you are going to murder someone, go ahead and do it. Pull the trigger. It's coming. I can feel it coming. Goodbye everyone, I love you." -- Steven Woods, last statement, September 13, 2011.

Because of time limitations, I did not prepare a post regarding the impending execution of Steven Woods. Now it is too late. He was executed on 13 September. I had, however, conducted some research on the case, and I noted on my navigation page that I stood mute with respect to his execution. Two astute and curious readers have asked about my decision to stand mute, since it seemed to them Steven Woods might have been innocent. I will therefore take a posthumous look at his case and see if any mea culpas are in order.

Speaking for Woods will be the folks who maintain his innocence website. I will refer to those folks hereafter as Woods.

Speaking for the State of Texas will be the appellate judges via their decisions in Woods v. Quarterman (2009) and Woods v. Thaler (2010). I will refer judges and their decisions hereafter as Texas.

Let's begin by looking at the factual background as summarized in both the referenced appellate decisions. Texas says:
Early in the morning of May 2, 2001, two golfers driving down Boyd Road at the Tribute Golf Course near The Colony, Texas, found the bodies of Ron Whitehead and Beth Brosz. Both had been shot in the head and had their throats cut. Whitehead was dead; Brosz was still alive but after receiving medical care, she died the next day. That evening, police received several anonymous tips that Woods was involved in the killings, along with one Marcus Rhodes. Detectives interviewed Woods, who admitted to being with the victims the night before their bodies were found. He said that he and Rhodes had agreed to lead Whitehead and Brosz to a house in The Colony owned by someone named "Hippy," but that their two vehicles became separated during the trip, so he and Rhodes returned to the Deep Ellum section of Dallas. Woods was not arrested as a result of his interview. Detectives then interviewed Rhodes, and after a search of his car revealed items belonging to Whitehead and Brosz, Rhodes was arrested.

Woods left the Dallas area, traveling to New Orleans, Idaho and California, where he was finally arrested. Several witnesses testified that before the killings he told them about his plan to commit the murders, and after the killings, he told them about his participation in them.
That's pretty thin as factual summaries go, but It will have to do. Woods v. Quarterman has a fair amount of detail sprinkled elsewhere throughout its decision, so we may have enough to work with here.

Woods summarizes the case thus.
In 2002, Steven Woods was wrongfully convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection for the shooting deaths of a young couple in Denton. He spent the next 9 years of his life awaiting death, in solitary confinement with no phone/computer access or human contact.

There was no physical evidence that ties Steven to the crime scene, and Steven disproved the court's only physical evidence used against him: The prosecution presented a latex glove that they claimed had his DNA on it. Knowing this isn't possible, Steven demanded that the glove be tested. The DNA on the glove did not match Steven's DNA. This glove was stricken from the protocol by the sentencing judge, to ensure that Steven would not use it as exonerating evidence in his appeals.
Woods seems to be correct on this point. I find nowhere in the appellate decisions any discussion of physical evidence tying Woods to the crime. I didn't even know about the latex glove until Woods brought it up. Anyway, Woods continues:
Steven was indicted and tried as the shooter. ... Three months after Steven's wrongful conviction, a man named Marcus Rhodes stood up in court and took full responsibility for knowingly & intentionally murdering both victims. Both victims' backpacks were found in the Trunk of Rhodes' Mercedes. Rhodes' fingerprints were on the weapons, his car was littered with shell casings, the guns were registered under his name and found hidden, under his bed. at his parents' home in Dallas. ... Rhodes admitted to shooting both weapons and all fatal shots as well as cutting the victims' throats, never once mentioning Woods in his testimony.

Marcus, the murderer got life in prison while Steven remained on death row.
Woods claims there is no proof he was even at the crime scene. During his trial, in fact, he produced an alibi witness, Leslie Batteau. Let's see what Texas had to say about Leslie Batteau.
During the guilt-determination phase of his capital trial, Woods raised an alibi defense. Leslie Batteau testified that he and Woods were asleep in an abandoned building at the time of the murders and did not learn of the murders until the next day, when they encountered Marcus Rhodes at the Insomnia coffee bar. The prosecution questioned Batteau as to whether Woods ever told him that he (Woods) and Rhodes committed the killings, and whether he (Batteau) had said to anyone else that Woods had told him that he and Rhodes killed Whitehead and Brosz. During the state's rebuttal case, the prosecution recalled David Samuelson and elicited the following testimony:

Q: What did Les[lie Batteau] tell you [Woods] had told him about the murder of [Whitehead] and [Brosz]?

A. He said that they drove up --

Q: Who is "they"?

A: Marcus and Halo [nickname for Steven Woods] in the front with Ron and Beth's car behind them, and they got out. Ron said, you brought me to the perfect place to set me up. And then that was the last thing he ever said.

Q: Who did Les[lie Batteau] tell you killed Ron?

A: [Woods].

Q: Did Les[lie Batteau] ever tell you he was with [Woods] the night of the murders?

A: No.

Q: Has Les ever said anything to you about being at The Squat with [Woods] the night of the murders?

A: No.

Q: Who did Les[lie Batteau] tell you murdered Ron and Beth?

A: [Woods].
Woods appeal was based in part on this testimony being hearsay, which it clearly is. But hearsay rules apply only to defense witnesses. (I over-simplify, but not by much.) There are so many exceptions to hearsay rules, almost all of them favoring the prosecution, that the entire hearsay business has become just one more weapon in the State's arsenal. The fact nonetheless remains that witness David Samuelson seriously rebutted witness Leslie Batteau's alibi testimony. In fact, the rebuttal witness moved Woods from being at the Squat (sounds like a nice place) with Batteau to standing over the bodies with Rhodes.

Woods complains, and rightfully so, about the snitch testimony. That's right, the State once again used a snitch. They can't help themselves.
One jailhouse informant recanted his testimony and acknowledged an agreement with the DA.
That's true, and all of you know I trust snitch testimony even less than I trust the feds with my tax dollars. Let's see what Texas had to say about their snitch.
Woods's eighth claim is that he was denied his right to the assistance of counsel during custodial interrogation when inmate Gary Don Franks ("Franks") elicited information from him while he was incarcerated. ... A criminal defendant may not have used against him at trial evidence of his own incriminating words, which federal agents deliberately and surreptitiously elicited from him after he had been indicted and in the absence of his counsel. ... In the present case, Woods contends that Franks, his cellmate, attempted to get him to talk about the killings, at the behest of the state, who then rewarded Franks by dismissing drug offense charges that were pending against him.

It is undisputed that Franks had numerous conversations with Woods, testified at his trial, and that the charges were dropped after he testified. Franks and his attorney stated in affidavits, however, that Franks did not attempt to elicit information from Woods, and that he had his attorney contact the prosecution and offer to testify without expecting, or being promised, anything in return.

Franks and his attorney would have at least hoped for, and in fact harbored some expectation of, receiving something in return for his testimony, even though no promise was made by the government. The issue is whether in these circumstances Franks should be considered a "government agent" ... An individual is a government agent where he was promised, reasonably led to believe, or actually received a benefit in exchange for soliciting information from the defendant and he acted pursuant to instructions from the state, or otherwise submitted to the state's control. ... In the present case, while the Court agrees with Woods that Franks appears to be "an individual who knew how to manipulate individuals, as well as the criminal justice system for his benefit," ... there is no evidence that Franks acted pursuant to instructions from the state, or otherwise submitted to the state's control. ... Since Franks was not a government agent, the state court's denial of this claim was neither contrary to, not the result of an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law ... The Court denies Woods's eighth claim.
What a bunch of crappola.

Now on to the meat of the case against Steven Woods. He was a blabbermouth. He told a fair number of people he killed the victims. About those confessions, Woods has this to say:
All witness testimonies consisted of hearsay which is inadmissible in court. Witnesses recanted their well-coordinated hearsay testimonies. Some witnesses were paid to testify, others were threatened.
Woods is wrong about his first point, as I have already pointed out. Courts admit hearsay testimony on all days having a "y" in their name, as long as the hearsay testimony is coming from a State witness. Regarding the recantations and the threats, I am aware of none. It's not to say they aren't out there. I'm just pointing out that they are much harder to find than the recantations in the Troy Davis case.

Some of the people that testified about Woods confessions include Melissa Byrom, Whitney Rios, and Staci Schwartz. None of those three provided hearsay testimony.
Melissa Byrom testified that she ran into Woods, who was with a friend of hers, on approximately May 5, 2001, and that Woods offered to pay for her gas and pay for an oil change for her car if she would drive him to New Orleans. She and Woods, along with two of their friends, left the next morning, and she ended up staying there for three or four days. During that time, she heard Woods, on two occasions, say that he had killed two people in Dallas. She became scared, drove back to her house in Texas, and on May 15, 2001, she made a statement to the police. On cross-examination, she admitted that, in her May 15, 2001 statement, she only mentioned one occasion in which she heard Woods say to another person that he had killed people in Dallas. She also stated that she thought she may have had a beer or something during the time she was in New Orleans.
The prosecution called Whitney Rios and Stacy Schwartz, who each testified that the day after the murders, Woods said that he and Marcus Rhodes had killed Whitehead and Brosz. The conversations took place at separate times.
Staci Schwartz testified that on the day after the murders, Marcus Rhodes and Woods told her they had killed Whitehead and Brosz, and Rhodes showed her their property in the trunk of his car. ... Rhodes told Schwartz that they had used Brosz's credit card to buy tickets in Samuelson's name to make him look guilty.
Woods argues, in various fashions, that these people were lying. Indeed they may have been lying. Woods, however, seems to acknowledge in his appeal that he told lots of people he killed the victims. This was one of the strangest appellate claims I've ever read. Hang on to your hats.
Woods's ninth claim is that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to impeach his own inculpatory statements. ... Woods's lead defense counsel for the guilt-determination phase of his trial was Jerry Parr. Parr said in his affidavit that after being presented by the prosecution with a list of approximately 100 witnesses, he asked Woods specifically if Woods had made any statements to any of the witnesses about the murders, and Woods denied making any incriminating statements to any of them. Parr stated:
Unfortunately, Mr. Woods' false statements to his attorneys that he had not made any admissions eliminated the development of evidence that the statements testified about at trial were the product of his propensity for untruthfulness. Perhaps, if he had admitted to his attorneys that he had made a series of admissions about the murders and that those admissions were false, evidence that he was a liar, rather than a killer, could have been developed.
So Woods' argument is twofold. First, I never confessed. Second, I told lots of people I did it, but only because I'm a habitual liar.

That's not grabbin' me as a great defense. I'll also admit that some of the bad character evidence offered during the punishment phase didn't make me lean towards innocence.
During a separate punishment hearing, the State, in addition to evidence about the circumstances of the crime and Woods's moral culpability, presented evidence that Woods was involved in the murder of another individual in California one-and-a-half months prior to the murders of Whitehead and Brosz; that Woods got into a fight with another inmate in the Denton County Jail; that Woods, Rhodes, and two other accomplices planned to rob a clothing store in Deep Ellum; that Woods may have planned to murder a woman who was coming to pick up vials of "acid" to sell; and that Woods made "bottle bombs" as a juvenile. ...
Based upon the credible affidavit of the government's lead prosecutor, Michael Moore, the government had additional evidence that it could have presented to prove Woods was a future danger including evidence of bomb-making, sexual assault, documentation from mental hospitals that Woods hated society and was sadistic, school officials who could not testify to anything favorable or redeeming about the defendant, sexual abuse of his younger brother, escalating physical abuse of siblings and dogs, affiliation with white supremacists, theft, drug dealing, and that even Woods's fiancée and her family would testify as to Woods's negative character.
Okay. I have to laugh a bit. Given the rather sordid list of bad character items, I find this one the most disturbing: "School officials ... could not testify to anything favorable or redeeming about the defendant." Hahahaha. Forget the bomb-making, the canine abuse, the planned murder, the actual murder, the sexual assault, and all the rest. They don't mean all that much. But when school officials have nothing good to say about you, it's the needle for you, mister.

Now that I've organized my research and thinking into pixels, I think I'm still going to stand mute regarding the propriety of Steven Woods execution. I perceive Steven Woods in much the same way as I perceive Cleve Foster. He put forth a superficially compelling case of factual innocence, but he was nonetheless a disturbing individual who was most likely guilty of the crime for which he was sentenced to death.

28 comments:

Tali said...

Here are 4 links to check out, they will help you understand the issues better:

1) Please read this blog by Steven to learn about the switcharoo the courts pulled on him (inconsistent theories of guilt)
http://savesteven.blogspot.com/2011/06/may-24-2011-blog-correction-by-steven.html

2) He was never indicted/charged for any other crime. The prosecution admitted erroneous evidence and false "confessions" . See Judge Womack's opinion here for backup http://www.bakers-legal-pages.com/cca/opinions/74430b.htm

3) After he got executed, I (his significant other) told his story verbatim in this interview. You can get a far better understanding of the big picture. http://www.aunetwork.tv/files/audio/Tali_Kaluski_AUN_EXCLUSIVE.mp3

4) Okay this, this right here.
Check it out. "COULD HAVE"
This could is very vague. You can ask anyone in Steven's family including his little brother that the prosecution DECIDED he abused, and they'll alll tell you the same thing: it's all lies.
I could have found people that would testify that they saw you rape me. But have I?
That right there is what you should pay attention to: SEMANTICS. Prosecutors and attorneys take enough classes on this for you to see a vague "could" and know that it's a red flag. This means they're unsure.
[Based upon the credible affidavit of the government's lead prosecutor, Michael Moore, the government had additional evidence that it COULD* HAVE presented to prove Woods was a future danger including evidence of bomb-making, sexual assault, documentation from mental hospitals that Woods hated society and was sadistic, school officials who COULD NOT* testify (WHY couldn't they? did they not remember him? etc) to anything favorable or redeeming about the defendant, sexual abuse of his younger brother, escalating physical abuse of siblings and dogs, affiliation with white supremacists, theft, drug dealing, and that even Woods's fiancée and her family would testify as to Woods's negative character.]

And I am his fiancee. Well.. was. so uh, so much for that. grin.

Tali said...

Also I have the recantations of several witnesses and affidavits from jurors who said they were misinformed and that if they were given more info, they wouldn't have given him death.

Anonymous said...

Errrr, please don't compare him to cleve, cleve had his DNA inside two dead girls. Steve had no physical evidence that cold tie him to the scene.

tsj said...

Tali,

Thanks for the comment. Thanks also for the data you have emailed me already. I promise I will (at least try to) give your position and the data you provide a fair hearing in a not-too-future post (or posts). I'll wait a bit since you have promised to send more data.

Good on you for putting up a stout, fact-based defense.

Tali said...

Haha, thanks for responding and sorry for bombarding you with info. I am trying to get all the appeal briefs on pdf format, his investigator should get back to me this week.
T

Anonymous said...

I thought you were one to stand by factual scientific evidence and not witness statements which can so easily be false or coerced. However, in this case, where there is absolutely NO factual evidence of Woods committing the crime, just witness evidence which Woods alleges was coerced, you convict? Tell me - how did Woods commit the crime when the DNA on the gun is Rhodes', the guns are Rhodes', the victim's property is found on Rhodes, Rhodes has confessed and been convicted without implicating Woods, and the only straw of scientific evidence that the prosecution had to cling to, regarding Woods' wearing gloves and therefore leaving no evidence, is proven to be false?

Do you convict because "he was nonetheless a disturbing individual"? What was disturbing about him? The character testimony that the prosecution "could have" provided? Disgard that, and there is nothing disturbing left.

A man shouldn't be convicted if there is reasonable doubt. Given your stated prior methods, there is plenty of reasonable doubt. There is no scientific evidence to speak of, and fair reason to believe witness testimony was coerced by the police. Why is it that you are willing to throw out the witness testimony in the Davis case, but not in this one? What if it was Rhodes, not Woods, who went around blabbermouthing about the crime, perhaps in the presence of Woods, and the statements were twisted to say otherwise? You know how this can happen.

Remember, without the witness testimony of confession, there is NO evidence here. None, zero. Executing a man because the prosecution puts a case of him being a "disturbing individual" should not cut it.

Anonymous said...

I have tried to post here, but for some reason? Ok, the first thing to remember is that Steven Woods was convicted with the "anti parties" theory, which means the juror could believe he did or did not commit the murders but was a party to the murders. Here is a common sense question no one seems to be able to answer. Why kill the female witness and not Woods if Woods was in fact only a witness? Why when Woods was interviewed by police did he lie and then flee, and wait several years to even admit (finally) that he was there? I don't agree that anyone convicted under the law of parties should be put to death, but voters put the politicians in office and support the law that allows this to happen. Fact, Marcus Rhodes had to admit as is customary for a plea deal, he DID implicate Woods when he was faced with the evidence gathered at his home and vehicle during his police interview. Fact, teachers and school officials would have testified, but the testimony would have been repetitious as to the future dangerousness issue. Fact, the fiance' mentioned is not the new fiance' but the woman he was dating at the time of the incident, and her testimony again would have been repetitious to future dangerousness. Fact, Woods family was not called on his behalf as a trial strategy by his attorneys as their testimony would have harmed more than helped his mitigating evidence. Woods was not some "babe in the woods, tucked neatly at home in bed" when this happened. He was there, and given the testimony at trial, anticipated the murders if not directing them, and participated in luring the victims to their demise.

Tali said...

he didn't flee really, he had nowhere to live

i hate when people make up facts as you're doing
there's a huge diff. between speculation and fact and you've yet to figure that out.

he never was allowed to take the stand by his attorneys. he was told to remain silent. that was later used against him by the jury.

there was no testimony that stated that woods lured the victims out there with intention to kill them.

julie smith is the fiancee at the time. we know her testimony, she was on the stand. would have harmed? you seem to think she didn't talk but she did.

rhodes didn't implicate woods for the crime.

woods mother was not allowed to enter the court room per the prosecution because it made beth's mom "uncomfortable" .. ha! the jury used that against him too.

woods is not from texas, he is from michigan and didn't have many peope to back him up..

by the way, you're not mentioning the "anti parties" issue. you're mentioning the texas law of parties 7.02(b)

woods had the gun pointed at him. beth asked "what are you doing?" woods dodged towards the car.. ehhh screw it. clearly you havent read the story. go to www.texaskills.com -> about

Anonymous said...

www.texaskills.com, while well put together is the point of view of the convicted, as are most of those sites. I am going by the Court record available to the public on Pacer. Mr. Woods was asked in open Court as is every defendant, if he would like to exercise his right to remain silent, and he answered in the affirmative. His Mother was a potential witness and as such the prosecution fought to keep her out of the Court room to avoid tainted testimony, this is also customary. The anti parties instruction to the jury, asked the question of the jury, the people that listened to the case, if they believed that he killed or anticipated the killings. Finally? No one seems able to answer the question, if Woods was a witness and not a participant, why given the only reason the female victim was also murdered, was Mr. Woods left alive? Also, Woods was "homeless" as you say and that proves he did not flee, yet there is sufficient evidence that homeless or not, he departed quickly after his police interview. An interview for which he lied about his whereabouts. Even if you redact all the "hearsay" testimony offered at trial and punishment, these two questions have been answered in several different ways, with several different lies, from Woods himself. You are incorrect that I have not read the story, I have read the story as it is presented in the Court documents. Not the story on "texas kills" as that is purportedly from someone who says he lies "habitually" and therefore cannot be believed when confronted with snitch confessions, (which I agree with you are bogus)but when cornered says ok wait, this is the truth.

Anonymous said...

"Now that I've organized my research and thinking into pixels, I think I'm still going to stand mute regarding the propriety of Steven Woods execution. I perceive Steven Woods in much the same way as I perceive Cleve Foster. He put forth a superficially compelling case of factual innocence, but he was nonetheless a disturbing individual who was most likely guilty of the crime for which he was sentenced to death." Well said. The question is really does the "law of parties" justify a death sentence? A thorough review of the record indicates a sufficiency of guilt under the parties issue. There is nothing in the record to suggest that trial counsel was anything but careful as to representation. The first thing to notice in the record was the decision to request and obtain funds for three different psychologists, one fired for deficient performance, one not called to testify after interviews with Steven Woods because the testimony would offer that the defendant would pose a future danger, and finally settling on one that could present the mitigating evidence through documentation without having interviewed the defendant. Then finally the decision not to offer alternative suspect. Trial counsel seems to have even foreshadowed that Steven Woods at some point would have to admit that he was there and that he saw Marcus Rhodes actually commit the murders when all other baseless defenses to his participation failed, and in fact he (Steven Woods) did resort to "witness" as a way of bolstering his complaint that he didn't kill anyone. While it may be true that he didn't actually kill anyone, his participation is undeniable. Whether we like the fact that the law of parties allows for the death penalty of a participant, it is the law for which Steven Woods was correctly executed.

Anonymous said...

Just a side note, you open with a statement from Judge Parr, who was also part of defense trial counsel (Woods seemed convinced that none of his “friends” would testify against him and was actually shocked when they did, commenting
to defense counsel Adame that he “‘felt really stupid’ because he left Mr. Parr and
[Adame] to defend these allegations on our own without significant input, despite the fact
he had personal knowledge of all of them.” from defense writ file in the 5th).
That is a bit misleading, as Judge Parr is staunchly opposed to a death sentence in the law of parties along with Senator Rodney Ellis, and it appears Parr was part of the defense, the same defense that now complains about his effectiveness?

Anonymous said...

his "friends" testified against him because he ratted their good friends out for killing beau sanders in california.

Anonymous said...

"Detective Brad Toms from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department testified
that he interviewed Mr. Woods in the Denton County Jail in January 2002. [Vol. 23 R.R.
113; 27 R.R. St. ex. 119]. Mr. Woods allegedly told Toms that he knew Rhodes, Stark, and
Potts were planning to kill Sanders and that he gave them his car to drive Sanders out to
California to do the murder. [27 R.R. St. ex. 119]. He also told Toms that, at one point, he
was going to go with them to drive them back, but he was not to participate directly in the
murder.[27 R.R. St. ex. 119]
On August 15, 2002, after the jury convicted him of capital murder but before the
punishment phase began, Mr. Woods placed a phone call to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s
Department and gave more information concerning Sanders’ murder.[23 R.R. 117-18; 27
R.R. St. ex. 122]. Essentially, Mr. Woods again told the California authorities that he had
information concerning the case that inculpated Rhodes, Stark, and Potts.[27 R.R. St. ex.
122]." The guilt theory and interviews with witnesses had already been conducted when the first interview with the San Bernardino County Sherriffs office interviewed Steven Woods, and he did not offer further inculpatory evidence until after the guilty verdict, and before the punishment phase began. This suggests that he was bewildered that they had testified against him and not as you suggest, the opposite.
None of this will answer the nagging question, why was Steven Woods left alive, when the other "witness" was murdered? Why did Steven Woods lie to the police and then leave the state? Why did Steven Woods not admit to being at the scene of the crime until he was backed into a corner on all his previous inconsistent statements about the night of the murders?

Tali said...

1) His Mother was a potential witness and as such the prosecution fought to keep her out of the Court room to avoid tainted testimony, this is also customary. Not true. The prosecution told her that Beth's family didn't want her in the court room as it made the family uncomfortable. She was not a witness and had established before the trial that she wasn't willing to testify and that's when they asked her to stay out of the court room. You can ask her. That's what I did.

1) he lied to the colony police the ONE time they interview him because they interviewed him (per their suggestion) at insomnia coffee where sanders used to work and Marcus used to hang out. He was interviewed in a booth there, in front of all their mutual friends that could tell Marcus. + Jeremy and Punky (potts) could have harmed him if he implicated Marcus because it would have implicated them, as well.
Ron's friends were also there and they threatened to kill Steven if he had anything to do with the murders. Had the interrogation gone down behind closed doors with the option to speak to an attorney prior (like in California) and his Miranda rights waived, he would have volunteered more info.. He took the officer's business card and asked the officer if he should be around or call back, the officer said no. Let's bear in mind that he was a terrified 21 year old homeless kid with all kinds of drugs in his system.
2) leaving the state... it's not like he had a house to live in, in Dallas. He couldn't live with his fiancee any more, they broke up the night before the murders, and he'd been planning to jet regardless of the murders. He just witnessed his friend shoot people and he didn't wanna be around that scene anymore.. He wasn't wanted when he left town.
3) Nopeski's. he had recorded interviews with the Humboldt county PD about the Beau murder summer 2001 before he was extradited to TX, therefor it was before any of his friends testified against him.
4)"Why did Steven Woods not admit to being at the scene of the crime until he was backed into a corner on all his previous inconsistent statements about the night of the murders? " -- he got interviewed by the cops once & had only made one statement about the night of the crime... since then, his attorneys told him not to ever say a word about his story, so he took their advice. HOWEVER, backed into a corner????? when do you think he admitted to being at the crime scene? He never had to admit anything, to be totally honest.
5) he and i spoke about that. he had lots of theories but was always unsure.
I know that marcus shot ron in the back of the head in front of steven and steven thought it was storming. then marcus shot ron more, when ron was on the ground. beth yelled "what are you doing?!" and marcus ran out of bullets in the .380.. i guess that's when steven ran to the car and hid, but he didn't realize that marcus had a .45, a little self defense pistol that could only hold 2 bullets n his pocket... so when beth tried running Marcus shot her in the back of the knee. then refilled the gun and shot her in the head with the .380. By then Steven was in the car. If marcus was gonna shoot him it would probably have to be inside his own car. He and Steven knew each other and I think he trusted that Steven would keep his mouth shut, unlike beth. I don't think Marcus really planned it. He always carried his guns around. Steven thought that he was actually supposed to get shot that night too.. Since he just broke up with Julie who was close to Marcus and he thought that maybe she had some kind of a plan there.

Tali said...

i had to post this in 2 divided posts because i never shut up. bummer. here goes:

What's funny about you guys is that you're all looking for total f'n innocence in court documents. You're not even looking in the briefs.. you're looking in the court opinions, expecting to find innocence. Cmon, the courts know better. Here's the thing.
You're saying his statements are inconsistent? Not really.. The courts shifted their guilt theory from "steven planned this and fatally shot the two victims" to "steven lured the victims" ... this whole time steven stuck to one consistent statement: i didn't know this was going to happen and i didn't participate in this.
Read this: http://savesteven.blogspot.com/2011/06/may-24-2011-blog-correction-by-steven.html
He was tried as the shooter. his options were "say you're guilty and you're the shooter" or "not guilty". he chose not guilty. he, unlike marcus, was never offered a plea bargain for anything, and that right there is fully wrong.


The courts also went with the prosecution's claim of "steven woods said he murdered these people because he wanted to be famous for these murders and he wanted to be like charles manson"
a dude that maintains innocence for 10 years until his very last breath is clearly consumed with being a famous murderer, huh? oops on that.


Your basing your stance here on "steven told him this, and steven told her that" but you're only willing to listen to what steven supposedly said through other people, never directly. It's a bit hypocritical. right now, all my talk here, it's not going to do shit. It's not going to save steven's life. I've got no reason to lie for him. I know people (like the mother of his kids, his parents, his 3 brothers, his old friends) that have filed affidavits in his favor, saying that he was a non-violent, caring individual and that he couldn't hurt a fly. They stand by that and always will.

I already put this on the other post but if you look at pages 12 + 18 on the 5th circuit appeal and pages 11-18 (?) on woods vs state (the direct appeal) you'll have backup for this


Testimonies that were impeached/recanted/disproved:

1) David Samuelson - impeached/confrontation clause
2) Staci Schwartz - impeached/confrontation clause
[Harmless Error
Even if admission of Marcus’s statements to Samuelson and Schwartz was error under Texas Rule of Evidence 803(24), or
the Confrontation Clause, error was harmless. As set forth in State’s Counterpoint 5 herein, Marcus’s statement was not the
only evidence that connected Appellant to the crime.]

3) Melissa Byrom - Recanted (detectives coerced -false testimony w/threats)
4) Gary Franks - Recanted (testified for good jail time)--- i have an affidavit of this.
5) Brian Young - Impeached (testified for good jail time)
6) Stephen Price - Impeached (no indica of reliability)
7) Michael Cavin - Impeached (no indica of reliability)
8) Nadia Yasmine Caminero - disproved. Hat she said that Woods stole from victim was later identified by victim's body in the crime scene photos. Nadia confirmed that victim only had one hat and this was "the hat" (she didn't know that the photo of the hat was actually taken from the crime scene).

Tali said...

i wrote number 1 twice. :( don't make fun of me.
also , question 5 was "why was *HE* left alive?"
sorry, wish i could edit this crap.

Anonymous said...

"What's funny about you guys is that you're all looking for total f'n innocence in court documents. You're not even looking in the briefs.. you're looking in the court opinions, expecting to find innocence. Cmon, the courts know better. Here's the thing.

"You're saying his statements are inconsistent? Not really"

I am not going to take that personally, but would be remiss in my efforts if I failed to point out that much of the tactics you complain of being used by the prosecution, you have yourself employed. Using the "semantics" "could" and "would" when describing what happened during the interview, when the only fact is that Steven lied. In furtherence of the lie, he attempted to develop an alibi.

Homelessness was not something new to Steven, using that as an excuse to "jet" doesn't have the ring of truth nor reasonableness. I hate hearsay as much as the next guy, and dismiss hearsay when I review, therefore I will dismiss your statement that "I know Marcus shot Ron in the back of the head, etc. etc." as hearsay, because certainly you are not saying you were there. Finally, from www.texaskills.com, "there is no proof that Steven was even at the crime scene" except that Steven says he was at the crime scene.

I am done commenting on this case, as I have stated now at least twice that I have reviewed the record, and not in a light most favorable to the verdict as the Justices that write opinions are required in their view. In fact I look for reasons to upset the jury verdict. In this case, I could find none.

The case is available at PACER, you can review more than the opinions, you can view evidence, briefs, testimonies, motions, and orders of the Court. It is not cheap, and I reviewed this case there, at my own expense. I stand opposed to the punishment in this case, but I can find nothing in the record that supports innocence as to the "parties" question.

You can register for a pacer account here https://pacer.login.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl?court_id=00pcl

The case is located in three parts at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, under three seperate causes all are Woods, Steven Michael the first is 4:01-mj-00047-RWF USA v. Woods whereby you will see the intitial warrant for the arrest of Woods was issued on 5/10/2001 just 8 days after the murder, in the complaint Rhodes implicates Woods as participating in the murders.

The next case is the federal appeal which includes the record as it was preserved for review 6:06-cv-00344-LED Woods v. Quarterman whereby you will see 41 different types of information, from briefs, to orders, to motions, and some evidence.

And finally this case Court of Appeals Docket #: 09-70027 Steven Woods v. Rick Thaler, Director, this is the final appeal in the 5th Circuit, the case for writ had been at the Supreme Court since January of 2011. Briefs for the prosecution and defense, mandate, order, and opinion can be viewed here.

Anonymous said...

"What's funny about you guys is that you're all looking for total f'n innocence in court documents. You're not even looking in the briefs.. you're looking in the court opinions, expecting to find innocence. Cmon, the courts know better. Here's the thing.

You're saying his statements are inconsistent? Not really"

I am not going to take that personally, but would be remiss in my efforts if I failed to point out that much of the tactics you complain of being used by the prosecution, you have yourself employed. Using the "semantics" "could" and "would" when describing what happened during the interview, when the only fact is that Steven lied. In furtherence of the lie, he attempted to develop an alibi.

Homelessness was not something new to Steven, using that as an excuse to "jet" doesn't have the ring of truth nor reasonableness. I hate hearsay as much as the next guy, and dismiss hearsay when I review, therefore I will dismiss your statement that "I know Marcus shot Ron in the back of the head, etc. etc." as hearsay, because certainly you are not saying you were there. Finally, from www texaskills com: "there is no proof that Steven was even at the crime scene" except that Steven says he was at the crime scene.

I am done posting on this case, as I have stated now at least twice that I have reviewed the record, and not in a light most favorable to the verdict as the Justices that write opinions are required in their view. In fact I look for reasons to upset the jury verdict. In this case, I could find none.

The case is available at PACER, you can review more than the opinions, you can view evidence, briefs, testimonies, motions, and orders of the Court. It is not cheap, and I reviewed this case there, at my own expense. I stand opposed to the punishment in this case, but I can find nothing in the record that supports innocence as to the "parties" question.

tali said...

but what i'm saying is he was tried as the shooter, so he deserved to at least be tried properly as a PARTY and not as a shooter. bla bla bla.

tali said...

"there is no proof that Steven was even at the crime scene" except that Steven says he was at the crime scene. <----- exactly. if steven wanted to play it off like he didn't do shit, he could have. he was honest. he never tried to develop that alibi btw.. dont blame him for leslie's error or for his shitty defense's error.

tali said...

"I know that marcus shot ron in the back of the head " <------- the ballistics were consistent with steven's claim, thus it is not hearsay, as there is an indicia of reliability. boom . if steven could talk for himself, you'd hear it from him, not me .
and clearly you didn't read the habeas brief
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jEpUAD42Oc

Anonymous said...

The self-serving statements of a convicted murderer aren't sufficient to prove innocence, however. Additionally, it appears that Tali is focusing on the arguments raised by the defense with regard to certain witnesses and is ignoring the opinions of the various appellate courts regarding those arguments. None of the witness testimony was actually impeached either at trial, or on appeal. Had that been the case, a new trial would've been ordered.

tsj said...

Anon,
You are incorrect when you claim that an appellate court would order a new trial simply because a witness had been impeached. Appellate courts rarely consider matters of guilt or innocence. The primary job of the appellate courts is to insure that the person convicted received a fair trial. The address issues such as competence of defense counsel, prosecution mis-conduct, biased juries, and questionable judicial rulings.

The Appellate courts (and the Constitution) make it clear that the decision of guilt or innocence rests with the jury, and there are few exceptions allowed to that standard. If the jurors get it wrong, there is usually no way out.

Anonymous said...

tsj, had the witnesses' testimony been legitimately been impeached at trial, the appellate court would have reversed the conviction on direct review on the basis that the conviction was not based on sufficient evidence. Tali is using the arguments of Woods' counsel to attempt to give the appearance of innocence when, in fact, the appellate courts did not agree with the defense's position that witness testimony had been impeached, etc. The majority of Tali's arguments are based on the self-serving statements made to her by Woods and members of his family and none of them are supported in the records of the case. In fact, many of them raise issues that Woods never once raised during the appellate process.

tsj said...

Anon,
The insufficiency of evidence standard is exceptionally difficult to meet. I've reviewed many, many cases, and I have yet to find one overturned because the evidence was insufficient. Perhaps you can point to a case in which a new trial was ordered because the evidence was insufficient.

Anonymous said...

He is and was guilty of 2 murders and probably 3 sanders and jailhouse girlfriends are absolute idiots

Julie jett said...

?? Did the Beau Sanders murder go unsolved?

Unknown said...

no,
because steven michael woods admitted guilt to this(even though his buddies will deny this claim) in AN official interview with the police. Case CLOSED>
He wasn't tried for that(But would have been have he not been tried or have been acquitted in the murders for which he was convicted and executed.
Steven woods wasn't JUST executed as punishment for the murders he was actually tried for. Rather, what was taken into account was past prior criminal background(fact there was substantial evidence linking him to not just one, but TWO other murders) along with disgusting acts against family members, animals, friend,etc..
The list goes on and on. He did not get a plea like Marcus Rhodes because of his disgusting past behavior and criminal activity. Marcus Rhodes(while I do not know his background) seems to have gotten a plea deal for the very reasons Woods did not. (As I just brought up)

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