Friday, May 2, 2008

Court Upholds Death Sentence for Woodel

TALLAHASSEE The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence for Thomas Woodel, who was convicted of the 1996 stabbing deaths of an elderly couple in the Four Corners area.

Woodel, 38, was convicted of the murders of Bernice and Clifford Moody, who were slain Dec. 31, 1996, at Outdoor Resorts of America in the Four Corners area, where the Illinois couple lived during the winter. He was sentenced to death for the murder of Bernice Moody and life in prison for the murder of her husband.

Woodel was working as a dishwasher at a pizza restaurant and lived in the Outdoor Resorts mobile home park with his pregnant girlfriend.

The couple was killed in a rental unit they owned next to their mobile home. According to Woodel's confession, he said he encountered Bernice Moody as he walked home after a night of beer drinking. He told investigators he stopped to ask her what time it was and she panicked and came at him with a knife.

Bernice Moody, 74, was stabbed 56 times and hit in the head twice with a ceramic toilet tank lid, so hard that the lid shattered. As Woodel was leaving, Clifford Moody, 79, tried to block his way, and Woodel stabbed him eight times.

Woodel was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, armed burglary and armed robbery.

Polk Circuit Judge Susan Roberts sentenced him to death in July 2005, the second time that Woodel received the death penalty for the crime. Circuit Judge Robert Pyle first sentenced him to death in 1998, after a jury recommendation of 7-5, and the Florida Supreme Court overturned the sentence.

The high court said Pyle's sentencing order failed to adequately evaluate each circumstance that favored life imprisonment. The case was sent back to Polk for resentencing, and a new jury recommended death by a 7-5 vote. Roberts followed that recommendation and imposed a death sentence.

At his sentencing hearing in Polk County, Woodel's lawyer urged the court to consider mitigating factors warranting a life sentence rather than the death penalty, including the fact that childhood was marked by rejection and instability, including two years spent in a children's home. The court was told Woodel was raised by two deaf parents and that his alcoholic mother neglected him and his sister.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe Thomas Woodell is deserved to take a death sentence due to his performance.
He told the court his deaf parents were deaf. Deafness does not mean anything to affect his performance to kill those couple. It is him and his decision to do.
We have a lot of deaf parents out of there in the states who did and do raise the hearing children very well. Do not use the deafness as excuse and also you (Thomas) and your lawyer, do not make any lame EXCUSE!!! You have to accept the FACTS where you supposed to be.