Bobby Wayne Woods, 44, was executed by lethal injection on 3 December 2009 in Huntsville, Texas for the abduction and murder of his ex-girlfriend's 11-year-old daughter.
In the early morning hours of 30 April 1997, Woods, then 31, went to the home of his ex-girlfriend, Schwana Patterson, 35, in Granbury, which is in Hood County, southwest of Fort Worth. Patterson had kicked Woods out a few days earlier. Her two children, 11-year-old Sarah and 9-year-old Cody - were sleeping inside. Woods crawled through an open window into the children's bedroom. He grabbed Sarah's foot and began beating her chest, then sexually molested her. Woods then forced both children to leave through the window in their nightclothes, put them in his car, and drove to a cemetery. There, he beat and stomped Cody on the head and strangled him. With Cody unconscious, Woods then drove away with Sarah. Cody later awoke, crawled over a fence, and attracted the attention of a horseback rider, who called the police.
Based on Cody's statement, police found Woods and asked him where Sarah was, hoping to find her alive. Woods answered, "You will not find her alive. I cut her throat." He then led them to her body. She was clothed in an inside-out shirt, a sports bra, and a pair of shorts, without underwear. Her throat had been deeply cut, severing her larynx and several major blood vessels. The cause of her death was extreme blood loss.
Cody had surgery to remove skull fragments from his brain.
The physical evidence against Woods included his semen on Sarah's blanket, a pair of her panties on his car's floorboard, and a trash bag containing a large butcher knife - covered with Sarah's blood - and a pawn ticket bearing Woods' signature and address for items from the Pattersons' home. Woods also had scratches on his face and arms at the time of his arrest. He and Sarah also shared the same sexually transmitted disease - the human papilloma virus (HPV).
Woods gave two statements to police. He admitted to having sexual contact with Sarah before leaving the house. He said that after Cody fell unconscious in the cemetery, Sarah started screaming. He took her away in the car, where she continued to yell, and said that she would tell the police he hit Cody. Woods said that he attempted to quiet the girl by holding a knife to her throat, but she "jerked real hard", and the knife cut her.
At Woods' trial, which was moved because of news coverage to Llano County, northwest of Austin, Cody testified that he awoke to his sister's screams. On the way to the cemetery, he noticed a black-handled knife in the back seat of the car. At the cemetery, Woods asked him whether his mother was seeing anyone else.
Testifying in his own defense, Woods stated that while talking with Cody in the cemetery about his mother, he "popped" him in the head "pretty hard" with the palm of his hand about three times. Cody fell back, hit his head on a fence post, and fell unconscious. He then put Sarah in the car and began driving back to his house, where his cousin, Jody Milton, lived with him, because Milton "would know what to do." Milton then drove off with Sarah. The next day, Milton told Woods he thought the girl was dead, and took him to her body.
Jody Milton hanged himself a few days after the murder.
Woods denied that he told the police, "I cut her throat". He testified that he told them, "Her throat's been cut". He stated he had trouble reading some words and that his signed, typewritten statements did not accurately reflect what he told the police.
On cross-examination, the prosecutor challenged Woods' claim that he could not read very well by confronting him with the fact that he had checked out over a hundred books while awaiting trial in the Hood County jail. "I asked for books so I could see if I could find any I can read," Woods answered.
Woods had no prior criminal record.
Sarah's diary was admitted into evidence at Woods' punishment hearing. Two months before her murder, she wrote, "Dear Diary. Guess what? Bobby moved out and we are so, so, so, so happy." In another entry, she wrote, "I don't like Cody, and I hate Bobby." She also wrote that she contracted HPV from him.
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