A seventh-grade dropout, Woods was so illiterate that he had to refer to a spelling list just to write simple notes to his family. He had IQ scores of 80 and 78 during elementary school. His IQ score right before his murder trial was 70, and another in 2002 returned 68. Woods also worked as a short-order cook and roofer. On April 30, 1997, Woods entered the home of his ex-girlfriend Schwana Patterson through the open window of her children’s bedroom; Patterson had expelled Woods two months earlier. Woods then kidnapped Patterson’s two children, 11-year-old Sarah Patterson and 9-year-old Cody Patterson, and raped Sarah. After driving to a cemetery, Woods beat and stomped Cody’s head, strangled Cody, and abandoned the boy at the cemetery. Cody notified police, and Woods told police that Sarah was dead and led the police to her body. Because the Woods case was heavily reported in Dallas-area media, Woods’s trial was held in Llano, Texas. During his trial Woods admitted to kidnapping Patterson’s children and beating Cody Patterson unconscious. A psychologist representing the defense but who did not evaluate Woods testified that Woods was mentally retarded and no longer a threat to society. In response, a psychiatrist representing prosecution testified that Woods was not mentally retarded and could commit future violent crimes. Woods, a resident of Granbury, Texas, was sentenced to death on May 28, 1998. Patterson was also tried on charges of child neglect and was found guilty on October 14, 1998. She was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Woods was scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. on October 23, 2008. However, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals delayed the execution after lawyers raised issue that Woods’s IQ would make him ineligible for the death penalty due to the United States Supreme Court case Atkins v. Virginia. That court ruled 8-1 on October 7, 2009 that there was insufficient evidence that Woods was retarded. The Supreme Court of the United States denied Woods’s appeal hours before Woods’s final execution day. Woods was executed at 6:48 p.m. local time on December 3, 2009 in the Huntsville Unit state prison. He was the 50th murderer executed in the U.S. in 2009 and 1,186th since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled capital punishment constitutional in the 1976 case Gregg v. Georgia. In Texas, Woods was the 24th murderer executed in 2009 and 447th executed since 1976.
- October, 11, 1965
- Livingston, Texas
- December, 03, 2009
- Huntsville, Texas
Cause of Death
- execution by lethal injection