Wood trial to begin next week

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 12, 2008

VIDALIA — The trial of Connor Wood — the Ferriday teen accused of killing his parents and a neighbor — will begin next week.

Wood, 16, is accused of three counts of second-degree murder, all of which he allegedly committed on the night of March 14, 2007, when he was 15-years-old.

The dead that night included Wood’s parents, John and Geraldine Wood, and neighbor Matthew Whittington, 16.

Email newsletter signup

Jury selection will begin Monday morning, and it is expected to take most of the day, District Attorney’s Office Investigator Johnny Loomis said.

“I expect testimony should begin Tuesday, and the trial will go from there,” Loomis said.

Some of the evidence against Wood has been used in open court prior to the trial because his lawyer, Paul Lemke, filed a motion to have confessions Wood made in the wake of the crimes suppressed as evidence on the grounds Wood did not know what he was doing at the time.

The confessions had significant differences in details, but along with a 911 dispatcher’s call, they were allowed to stay in evidence.

In one statement, Wood admitted only to killing Whittington, and in the other he claimed he also killed his parents.

In the confessions, Wood also alleged Whittington had conspired with him to kill the Wood couple, and that after the murders Wood became enraged over what he had done and killed Whittington.

Wood was initially indicted on charges of three counts of first-degree murder, but those charges were recently amended to second-degree murder.

Soon after he pleaded “not guilty” to the initial indictment, Wood changed his pleading to “not guilty by reason of insanity.”

A sanity panel later found him fit to stand trial.

In mid-March, Whittington’s parents, Dennis and Judy Whittington, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the estate of John and Geraldine Wood.

The suit is still pending court action.