Paper carrier's killer wins stay of execution
Thursday, December 24, 1998
BOISE -- The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked condemned murderer James Edward Wood's scheduled Dec. 30 execution for the 1993 murder of 11-year-old Pocatello newspaper carrier Jeralee Underwood.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor signed the stay of execution on Wednesday, clearing the way for Wood to ask the Supreme Court to review his conviction and death sentence.
Sixth District Judge Peter McDermott signed a death warrant on Dec. 4 for Wood in the wake of an Oct. 9 Idaho Supreme Court decision upholding his death sentence for the kidnapping, molestation, murder, sexual mutilation and ultimate dismemberment of Jeralee.
That exhausted his state appeals, but Wood still has potentially years of federal appeals ahead of him.
Wood, 51, was sentenced to death in January 1994 by then-6th District Judge B. Lynn Winmill -- now a federal judge -- for killing Jeralee after kidnapping her as she collected from customers on her newspaper route.
He then molested Jeralee before shooting her in the head the next day and dumping her body in
Idaho Falls. He returned days later to sexually mutilate the body and then dismember it, throwing it into the Snake River.