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The Brief: Law of Parties Execution Has GOP Lawmaker's Attention

A pro-death penalty legislator also considered one of the Texas House's most conservative members has been working to stop an execution set for next week.

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The Big Conversation

A pro-death penalty legislator also considered one of the Texas House's most conservative members has been working to stop an execution set for next week.

Jeff Wood was given the death penalty for his role in the 1996 death of a gas station clerk in Kerrville. Wood was in a truck outside while his friend shot the clerk, but he nonetheless was sentenced to death under Texas' law of parties.

State Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, told the Tribune that the Wood case has kept him up nights and has had him in contact with Gov. Greg Abbott's office and the state parole board in an effort to change Wood's death sentence to life in prison.

Leach told the Tribune he's in favor of the law of parties in cases where an accomplice is directly involved in the murder. But he said the Wood case stood out to him as not right. “I simply do not believe that Mr. Wood is deserving of the death sentence,” Leach said. “I can’t sit quietly by and not say anything.”

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Quote to Note

“I can just see the Mexican president — ‘Donald Trump, take this wall down.’ He’s going to be on the right side of history at some point if Trump is elected and if he does this wall, which is really asinine. We will take it down at some point.”

— Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, talking on the Fox Business Network about Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border

Today in TribTalk

Why Texas needs a recession-proof school finance system, by David Knight — Why do higher-poverty school districts in Texas receive less funding per student than lower-poverty districts? Much of the current funding gap has resulted from how the finance system responds to economic recessions.

News From Home

The full program for the 2016 Texas Tribune Festival, featuring conversations about the future of health care, the sharing economy, Zika, abortion, standardized testing, higher ed funding, border security and, of course, Donald Trump, is now available. To view the Festival schedule & purchase tickets, visit

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   A Conversation with state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and state Reps. Terry Canales and Bobby Guerra on Aug. 26 at UT-Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg

•    San Antonio & the Legislature: The Election and Beyond on Sept. 14 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus

•   The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

•   TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Four Price and John Smithee on Oct. 4 at Amarillo College in Amarillo

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville

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