Juan Reyes guilty, sentenced to 40 years for the death of Keith Lynn Wood in 2013



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STEPHENVILLE (October 15, 2015) — Juan Reyes, 34, is guilty of the murder of Keith Lynn Wood, 32, in the first murder within the Stephenville city limits since 2001. He will be spending 40 years in a state penitentiary.

Jason Cashon

And while the verdict and sentencing give Wood’s family some closure, his mother, Jenny Wood, said she is praying for Reyes’ mother because she knows what it’s like to lose a son.

“When a mother has a son missing for six or seven weeks and they find a body but they can’t say it’s him, but then the papers do, that’s horrible,” Wood recalled of learning her son was dead. “They wanted me to say something, but I’m not because I don’t think he’s worth saying anything to. But I am praying for his mother, I know what it’s like to lose a son.”

Wood’s mother said she would like to thank the Stephenville Police Department.

“They were wonderful to me when I was calling everyday, and have been wonderful to me throughout this whole process,” she said.

Closing arguments 02

On Thursday, attorneys for both the State and defense presented closing arguments in the three-day trial, and the jury was out deliberating for less than an hour before returning with the verdict. After returning the verdict, the jury heard testimony in the sentencing phase and deliberated for even less time before returning with 40 years in TDCJ.

“We had three murders in 2013,” Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash recalled after the case. “This was the toughest one.”

Reyes waves bye bye

During the trial, Reyes’ attorney, Andrew Ottaway, attempted to present evidence that Reyes accidentally shot Wood and hid his body out of fear of retaliation. Ottaway called a number of witnesses including local law enforcement to show Wood was a known criminal and member of the Aryan Brotherhood.

Reyes gave his own testimony, taking the stand on Wednesday and telling the jury Wood hit him and his finger, which was on the trigger, squeezed in reflex, causing it to fire and kill Wood. Ottaway’s closing arguments included asking the jury if someone was in your home and backing you into a corner aggressively and your were mad and scared if you would only shoot one time or empty the gun.

Closing arguments 04

A compelling argument for the jury to consider. However, Nash made another point in his closing.

“If you shoot and kill someone who has entered your home and is threatening you and your family the way Mr. Reyes said he was threatened, if you accidentally killed that man, would you then get your roommate and girlfriend to help you wrap, transport and bury the body? No,” Nash said. “You’d call the police and let them know what happened because you didn’t do anything wrong.

Reyes on stand 04

“But Mr. Reyes did. This man intentionally and knowingly pointed a loaded gun at Mr. Wood’s chest for whatever reason. He shot and killed a man in our community, in our county, and it’s time you find him guilty,” the DA told the jury just before they recessed to discuss Reyes’ fate. “These people fancy themselves like big time Hollywood gangsters, like the Good Fellows or Don Corleone in Stephenville. But they aren’t even close. They are a cancer in our communities and it’s time we rid the county of it. Show them violence isn’t tolerated in our community.”

Reyes leaves courthouse

Reyes was transferred back to the Erath County Jail, where he has been since he was arrested in November 2013, to await transfer to a state facility. He will receive credit for time served in county jail while awaiting trial and will be eligible for parole in 18 years. Reyes will also have the opportunity to appeal his sentence over the next 30 days, and Ottaway, who is listed as his appeal attorney, said his office will begin that paperwork as soon as Reyes gives the word.

Ottoway and Nash

Nash said he felt it was a fair verdict.

“There’s no pleasure in sentencing someone to the penitentiary,” he said following the sentencing phase of the trial. “But I’m glad to know a man like this is off our streets. And I hope it sends a message to others involved in this society, people involved in drugs in our community and we see less and less of it around here.”


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