Greenville, Mo., man sentenced to life in prison for 2005 murder

Saturday, October 25, 2008

GREENVILLE, Mo. -- A Greenville man who killed his wife will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Bud D. Wood, 28, withdrew his not guilty plea and pleaded guilty Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court to first-degree murder. He admitted shooting 24-year-old Jennifer Schree Brooks Wood on Nov. 11, 2005.

Circuit Judge William Seay of Salem sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of probation or parole.

"I think it is the best thing that could happen. He will live out his days in prison and have to live every day with what he did," said Kenny Brooks of Greenville, the victim's father, after court had adjourned. "There is nothing we can do to bring our daughter back."

Brooks, along with his wife and 13 other family members, watched as Wood received a life sentence.

Dressed in orange Madison County Jail clothing, Wood stood between his lawyers as Seay accepted his plea and the prosecution's recommendation for a life sentence. The prosecution had been seeking the death penalty until the plea agreement was reached. An armed criminal action charge was dismissed.

Seay granted Wood's request for time to visit with his family in the courthouse before being transported to prison as long as there was no physical contact.

Since there was a plea agreement, there was no opportunity given for the defendant or the victim's family to make any comments.

"Bud feels very bad about the whole situation. He has always wanted to express his concern and remorse to Jennifer's family," said public defender Don Catlett.

"This is a classic example of a tragedy that has affected not just Jennifer's family, but also Rob's family," said public defender Charles Moreland.

The case was prosecuted by Elizabeth Bock of Springfield, who is employed by the Missouri attorney general's office to help small counties with murder and capital cases throughout the Ozarks.

"It's just sad. Jennifer was so young and the mother of two little children," Bock said. The children were born in 1999 and 2004.

Becky Burns, the former prosecuting attorney in Wayne County, had reached the plea agreement in the summer after talking with the victim's family, but the sentencing was delayed due to scheduling problems, according to Bock.

Before Wood was sentenced, Bock presented the following statement of what the evidence would show if the case had gone to trial:

The couple had separated on Oct. 14, 2005, when Jennifer Wood filed for a divorce. Bud Wood had been despondent and borrowed a .45-caliber gun from a relative.

A neighbor, Cathy Warren, heard shots being fired and Jennifer screaming for help as she tried to run away from Bud Wood, but she was hit by three bullets and died on the porch of the Warren residence. Then Bud Wood shot himself and had to have surgery on his left jaw.

Two handwritten notes were found in Bud Wood's truck. One to his children did not appear to be a suicide note. The note to his own family did appear to be a suicide note, according to Bock.

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