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Texas appeals court halts execution of man who did not kill anyone

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The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday halted an execution planned for next week of a man convicted as an accomplice to a murder he did not commit in a case that raised questions about how the state applies the death penalty.

Jeffery Wood, 43, was scheduled to be executed on Aug. 24 by lethal injection. He was convicted of taking part in a 1996 convenience store robbery during which clerk Kriss Keeran was fatally shot.

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In its decision, the appeals court asked a lower court to review his sentence and claims from Wood’s lawyer that it was obtained in violation of due process because it was based on false testimony and false scientific evidence.

Wood’s layer questioned a witness for the prosecution, forensic psychiatrist Dr. James Grigson, who told a court in the 1990s Wood would commit future acts of violence and was a threat to society.

Grigson, nicknamed “Dr. Death” for his willingness to testify against people facing the death penalty, was expelled from the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association for ethical violations: making diagnoses of capital murder defendants without first examining them.

“The court did the right thing by staying Mr. Wood’s execution and authorizing his claims related to Dr. Grigson’s false testimony during the sentencing phase to be considered on the merits,” said Jared Tyler, Wood’s lawyer.

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Wood was unarmed in a vehicle outside the store when it was robbed. Prosecutors have said Wood knew the clerk might be shot. Wood’s lawyers said he was unaware that a robbery was underway.

Wood’s roommate at the time, Daniel Reneau, was convicted of pulling the trigger and executed on June 13, 2002.

“I am not aware of a case where a person has been executed with so minimal culpability and with such little participation in the event,” Tyler said in an interview.

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Under Texas’ “Law of Parties,” a person can be charged with capital murder even if the offense is committed by someone else.

After he heard a shot, Wood entered the store to help Reneau steal a cash box, safe and security video system.

Ten people have been executed as accessories to felony murder since the United States reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which monitors capital punishment.

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Five have been in Texas, which has executed more people than any state since the death penalty was reinstated.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Internet cheers ‘real president’ Hillary Clinton for ‘eviscerating’ Trump over lie Google ‘manipulated’ millions of votes

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Hillary Clinton has been pretty quiet lately, perhaps sitting in her Chappaqua home with Bill and doing whatever it is former Secretaries of State and former Presidents do.

But a tweet President Donald Trump posted Monday move her to enter the spotlight once again, if only for a moment.

Trump posted a huge lie, a claim that somehow search and advertising behemoth Google "manipulated" up to 16 million more votes for Hillary Clinton. It's so preposterous that it's already been debunked, but don't expect a Trump retraction.

"Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!" Trump tweeted.

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Trump’s outrageous claims of voter fraud have a clear goal: Refusing to accept defeat in 2020

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A brand new Fox News poll shows Donald Trump well behind the top four Democratic candidates for president, with Joe Biden topping the list at 12 points ahead of Trump. Don’t get happy, though, or else we “tempt the wrath of whatever from high atop the thing,” to quote "The West Wing." We’re still a long way from the 2020 election and roughly a gazillion things could dramatically alter the landscape of the campaign.

Trump, on the other hand, is totally losing his shpadoinkle over the poll results.

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Baptists unanimously vote out lesbian couple over same-sex marriage: ‘It was more out of spite’

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A lesbian couple from Mississippi says they were asked to leave their Baptist church over their relationship.

Mary Catherine Trollinger and her partner Olivia Jennings were notified by letter that they were no longer welcome at Gracewood Baptist Church in Southaven, where they met last year, reported WATN-TV.

Their pastor, Barry Baker, signed the letter, which stated he had warned them against pursuing an "unbiblical" and "degrading" same-sex relationship, and told the couple they had been unanimously -- and "sadly" -- voted out during a special business meeting at the church.

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