Judge Stays Execution, Citing Competency Issue

     SAN ANTONIO, Texas (CN) – A federal judge granted a stay of execution to Jeffrey Lee Wood, 35, who was sentenced to die Thursday night for a killing committed by his partner in a 1996 robbery.

     Wood’s lawyers argued that the condemned man was too delusional to understand his sentence. He apparently believes that he is the victim of a Freemason conspiracy, among other things.
     U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia said that Wood’s bizarre statements “at least arguably suggest the petitioner lacks a rational understanding of the causal link between his role in his criminal offense and the reason he has been sentenced to death.”
     The judge said the Texas courts were wrong when they refused to hire mental health experts to determine whether Wood is competent, and to appoint him a lawyer to represent him at his competency hearing.
     Garcia put off the execution for at least six months.

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