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|Jury finds Connor Wood guilty; Confessions explained why he killed three|
Sixteen-year-old Connor Wood was found guilty Wednesday of three counts of second degree murder by a unanimous 12-0 vote of the jury after 25 minutes of deliberations.
A baby-faced Connor Wood told investigators last year that he killed his parents because they were "fighting all the time," and that he killed 16-year-old Matthew Whittington afterward because "he (Whittington) was telling me it was gonna get better."
Police were the first to see the result of Wood's work -- a lifeless teenager face down in the hallway lying in a pool of his own blood and two dead adults in the bedroom, blood everywhere.
Wood, found guilty of three counts of second degree murder, was on trial this week for killing his mother, Geraldine (Jeri) Trevillion Wood, 40, and his father, John David Wood, 42, as the two slept in their bed sometime after 2 a.m. on March 14, 2007.
Wood was also accused, according to court testimony and court records, of gunning down his friend Whittington shortly afterward.
The carnage was found in the Wood home at 119 Shady Lane in the Woodland Subdivision of Ferriday.
A jury was selected Monday and testimony began Tuesday.
First Asst. Dist. Atty. Brad Burget said Wood used three guns -- a 9-millimeter pistol, a semi-automatic 32-caliber pistol, and a 22-caliber rifle -- during the course of these murders, which likely took less than five minutes to commit.
Wood fired more than two dozen shots and hit his targets 19 times. His mother and father were each hit five times and Whittington, who was shot with two different weapons, was hit nine times. Police found 24 casings -- 13 from the 9-millimeter, nine from the .32 handgun, and two from the .22 rifle.
After Wood confessed to the killings, Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office Investigator David Hedrick asked Wood: "What made you do this? What was the real reason that...pushed all this...and made you come to the point that, that you shot your, your parents?"
Wood said his parents were "fighting all the time, you know. My Dad only came home on Wednesdays and Saturday and Sunday nights, and I dreaded when he came home and I didn't want to be there when he got home, 'cause they would fight all the time."
As the only surviving eyewitness to the crimes, Wood's account of the murders -- of which he gave three versions -- are the only accounts that exist. The Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office, with assistance from the District Attorney's Office, conducted one of the most painstaking forensic investigations in the history of the parish in building the case against the 16-year-old.
Wood told investigators that he had talked with Whittington about killing his parents over a period of six weeks prior to the murders.
Whittington, Wood told investigators, "brought it up in the first place and he was the one that made the plans and all that...he would talk about it when me and him were at his house or when he was at my house or whatever, and most of the time I would just listen to him. I didn't, I didn't have anything else to say back to him."
They had discussed the issue on the Monday prior to the early Wednesday morning murder, said Wood. Whittington had spent Monday night at the Wood home. Wood's father arrived home Tuesday.
In his final account of the night of the murders, Wood said he called Whittington around 2 a.m. Both had cell phones.
Whittington apparently waited until his parents were both in bed before he left his home, just a short distance from the Wood residence. He arrived in the Wood's backyard around 2:15 a.m.
The two talked briefly and then entered the back door, said Wood. While in the kitchen, Wood said Whittington picked up the 9-millimeter pistol that was normally kept in John Wood's pickup truck.
The boys went to Wood's room where Wood claimed Whittington began talking to him about the plan to kill Wood's parents, urging him to move forward while Wood said he didn't really want to do it.
But, said Wood, "I just, I don't know, I took the gun...I mean, I feel like it wasn't even me doing the whole thing..."
Investigator Hedrick asked: "Okay and what did you do?"
Wood answered, "I went into the bedroom and I shot them."
He said the room was dark and after the gun ran out of bullets he changed magazines but wasn't sure if he fired again. He said his parents never spoke.
Back in either the hall or in his bedroom, Wood said he gave Whittington the pistol. Whittington took the gun and "I heard him go back outside and a little bit later he started breaking the window." One of the outer panes on the back door of the home was shattered, but glass was found on the inside of the house as if the door was opened inward when the glass was broken."
Whittington's plan, claimed Wood, was to shoot the Woods' and "then he would break the window and take the gun and make it look like somebody come in and shot 'em (parents)." Police found the pistol in the kitchen, and a hammer and a sweater at the back door.
Wood said that before Whittington returned to the hallway he went into his parents' bedroom again and retrieved a 32-caliber handgun. He said the gun was kept under the mattress on his mother's side of the bed.
Within a minute the two boys met in the hallway, where Whittington "told me that, you know, my life was gonna be better now...because I didn't have my parents anymore."
But Wood said he replied that "it wasn't gonna get better." Then, he said, "I didn't want that to be done and I was just mad at him."
Hedrick asked Wood: "Then what did you do at this point...?"
Wood answered: "I shot him."
When asked how many times, Wood answered, "I don't remember. I emptied the clip."
He then called 911, telling the operator that an intruder had broken into the home and he had killed the intruder. Wood said he then turned on a light as he heard Whittington moving in the hallway.
Wood said he asked and received permission to shoot Whittington again from the dispatcher, who denied permission was given. That 911 tape had been destroyed due to a power outage, according to testimony.
Wood returned to his parents' bedroom a third time, retrieved a .22 rifle from a closet, returned to the phone and said he asked the dispatcher once again if he "could kill him" because Whittington "was still moving."
Standing over Whittington, Wood said he fired one shot "in the back of the head." At that point, he said Whittington stopped moving.
Wood said police arrived a short time later.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON TESTIMONY
Burget called to the stand investigators and law enforcement officers with the Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office and the Ferriday Police Department who were initially on the crime scene.
Burget questioned each detailing what they witnessed at the scene of the triple homicide.
Through testimony, crime scene photographs and a video taken by Ferriday Police Department Major Johnnie Evans, Burget introduced evidence collected.
Testifying were Crime Scene Investigator Captain Frankie Carroll, Deputy Jack Fletcher, Deputy Phillip Webber, Deputy Edwin Lawrence, Chief Investigator Bobby Sheppard, Deputy Shelia MacFarland, all of the Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office and Evans.
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