17-year-old capital murder defendants under age for Texas death penalty


Two teens charged in a fatal home invasion this month will not face the death penalty because they are too young under Texas law.

First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said Wednesday morning at hearings for Daveon Woods, 17, and Cameron Ware, 17, that state law prohibits a death sentence in the event the pair of defendants is found guilty of capital murder in the Nov. 9 death of Craig Garner.

Woods and Ware appeared before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell on Wednesday morning. Tidwell told both that he is appointing private lawyers to represent them because of the “nature of the charges.”

Texarkana attorney Jeff Harrelson was appointed to represent Woods. Texarkana attorney Butch Dunbar was appointed to represent Ware.

Garner, 29, was in bed asleep with his wife when loud banging at the door of their apartment woke them, according to a probable cause affidavit. Garner was shot dead as his wife shielded their children in another room of the family’s apartment at the River Crossing Apartments on College Drive in Texarkana, Texas.

Crisp said the death penalty can only be imposed in Texas for defendants convicted of capital murder if they are 18 or older.

Woods and Ware were allegedly at the Pecan Ridge Apartments on 15th Street in Texarkana, Texas, when they approached a parked car with several occupants and asked for a ride to River Crossing. The car’s occupants allegedly told police that Woods told them he and Ware were going to commit a robbery at River Crossing before the two teens headed up the stairs in the direction of Garner’s apartment.

The passengers in the car told officers they ran from the scene on foot while the driver sped away in the car.

A press statement from Texarkana, Texas, police previously stated that investigators believe Woods and Ware were looking for someone else when they kicked in the door of Garner’s apartment and shot him. Police were called to the apartment on College Drive in Texarkana, Texas, shortly after 1 a.m. Nov. 9. Shell casings of 380 and 40 caliber ammunition were collected from Garner’s apartment.

Capital murder in Texas is usually punished by death by lethal injection or life without parole for defendants 18 or older. Because Woods and Ware are 17, they face life with the possibility of parole if convicted.

Bail for both Woods and Ware is set at $1 million. Woods is also charged with aggravated robbery in a case unrelated to Garner’s death and his bail in that case is set at $100,000.

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