Wednesday, June 13, 2007

May 5, 2007

...Woods' pet cat – a recent allowance for death-row inmates – was willed to a family member and had been taken from the prison Thursday afternoon....

Last Meal: Woods shared a last meal of birthday cake and pizza with his family Wednesday.

Prison officials had him on a liquid diet Thursday.

The skinny: Woods, 42, was executed for the murder of a 77-year-old man during a 1984 burglary.

More skinny: Woods, Greg Sloan, and Pat Sweet went to the home of the victim to steal a television.

Woods was armed with a knife. Sweet stayed in the yard, while Woods and Sloan rang the doorbell. When the man answered, Woods immediately jumped in and stabbed him with the knife. When he fell back and asked for help, Woods then stabbed him again repeatedly (21 times)and took $130 from the man's wallet. Woods and Sloan then carried out the television, hid it, and later sold it for $20. They washed their clothes and threw the knife in the creek.

When police arrived the next morning in response to a call of a man needing help, Woods was on the porch of the man’s apartment complex crying and saying that he had gone there to use the telephone and found the body. While questioning Woods, his mother came to the scene and told police that she thought her son was involved in the murder. She consented to a search of her residence, which revealed a knife sheath and a stained towel.

Woods was taken to the station and while preparations were being made for a polygraph, Woods broke down and gave a complete confession.

Sloan testified at trial after entering a guilty plea to aiding in murder.

Last words and such: "I want Juan's family to know I truly am sorry, and I do have remorse. I want everybody to know that I do have peace, and it’s through Jesus Christ that I have this peace."

The victim’s family was the first to view an execution since Indiana changed its law last year giving relatives of murder victims the right to watch executions.

Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, said he proposed the change after meeting with the prison warden and discovering victims’ families had to get permission from the person being put to death if they wanted to watch the execution. “The person being executed already has caused these people harm. Obviously, they’ve lost a loved one in some way, and they have to ask his permission if they feel they want to watch?” Wyss said. “It just seemed like the state was giving them another slam.”

A prison spokesman aid he could recall only one execution where a victim’s family member watched. That was two years ago when Kevin A. Conner allowed relatives of three men he killed in Indianapolis to witness his death.

The man's granddaughter, who was 20 when he was killed, is not eligible to watch the execution. Only spouses, parents, siblings, children and grandparents can view an execution, and all must be at least 18 years old.

A maximum of eight people are allowed.

Factoids: Woods was the...

17th murderer executed in U.S. in 2007
1074th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
1st murderer executed in Indiana in 2007
18th murderer executed in Indiana since 1976

Woods' pet cat – a recent allowance for death-row inmates – was willed to a family member and had been taken from the prison Thursday afternoon.

Woods was the first Indiana inmate put to death since January 2006.

Three of Woods' family members were among about 25 people who protested against the death penalty Thursday night outside the prison.