Drifter with Chicago ties executed in Texas

September 14, 2011 9:37:29 AM PDT
A former runaway, drifter and drug dealer who began his deviant odyssey in Chicago, Steven Michael Woods was executed Tuesday evening for a double murder more than a decade ago north of Dallas.

At the age of 17, Woods was lured to Chicago's club scene and away from his parents and siblings at their home in Livonia, Michigan, outside Detroit.

According to court records, Woods was also a white supremacist, into bomb-making, mistreatment of animals and was a Satanist.

After using and dealing drugs in Chicago and committing petty offenses in the area, Woods ended up in Denton County, Texas, north of Dallas.

In May of 2001, he shot and slashed a 19-year-old woman and her boyfriend and dumped their bodies along a golf course road. Woods claimed it was a drug deal that went sour and that he was on LSD at the time.

Woods acknowledged he was present in May 2001 when Ronald Whitehead, 21, and Bethena Brosz, 19, were fatally shot and had their throats slashed near a golf course but insisted he was not involved and blamed the murders on his friend Marcus Rhodes.

Woods was tried first for the slayings, was convicted and sentenced to die. Rhodes then pleaded guilty and accepted a life prison term, avoiding a possible death sentence.

All of Woods' appeals ran out Tuesday. Shortly after 6 p.m., Woods was strapped down in the Texas death chamber and given a lethal injection, the 10th execution in Texas this year.

Before he was killed by the state of Texas, Woods said, "You're not about to witness an execution, you're about to witness a murder... I've never killed anybody, never. This whole thing is wrong... Warden, if you're going to murder someone, go ahead and do it. Pull that trigger."

Woods went by the name "Halo" on the street and was a mid-level drug dealer. The Texas victims, Brosz and Whitehead, were found by golfers May 2, 2001, along The Tribute golf course road between North Dallas and Denton, Texas. Whitehead was shot six times in the head. Brosz was shot twice in the head and once in the knee. Both had their throats cut. Brosz was alive when she was found but died the following day.

Witnesses testified at Woods' 2002 trial that he lured Whitehead to the isolated road on the pretense of a drug deal and killed him because he knew about another killing involving Woods two months earlier in California.

Prosecutors said Brosz was merely at the wrong place at the wrong time and was killed because she was a witness to Whitehead's death. Woods also blamed Rhodes for the California slaying.

Even though there are open murder cases in Chicago during the time he was in the area, Woods' name had not come up as a suspect.

In a jailhouse interview, Woods, 31, said he doesn't remember much of his time in Chicago because he was usually high on marijuana, acid, heroin, cocaine or speed. "I wanted to do as much as I could possibly do and still live," he told a reporter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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