Date of Birth: December
Wood and his 29-year-old ex-girlfriend,
Debbie Dietz, had been involved in a turbulent relationship for 5 years,
which had been marred by numerous breakups and several domestic violent
incidents. Debbie was working at a local body shop owned by her family.
On August 7, 1989, Wood walked
into the shop and shot Gene Dietz, age 55, in the chest with a .38
caliber revolver, killing him. Gene Dietz's 70-year-old brother was
present and tried to stop Wood, but Wood pushed him away and proceeded
into another section of the body shop.
Wood went up to Debbie, placed
her in some type of hold, and shot her once in the abdomen and once in
the chest, killing her.
Wood then fled the building. Two
police officers approached Wood and ordered him to drop his weapon.
After Wood placed the weapon on the ground, he reached down and picked
it up, and pointed it at the officers. The officers fired, striking Wood
several times. Wood was transported to a local hospital where he
underwent extensive surgery.
Presiding Judge: G. Thomas Meehan
Prosecutor: Thomas Zawada
Start of Trial: February 19, 1991
Verdict: February 25, 1991
Sentencing: July 2, 1991
Grave risk of death to others
None sufficient to call for leniency
State v. Wood, 180 Ariz. 53, 881 P.2d 1158 (1994).
Wood, 180 Ariz. 53, 881 P.2d 1158 (1994)
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: The
defendant was convicted in Superior Court (Pima) of two counts of first-degree
murder and two counts of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to death
on each murder conviction. This is his automatic, direct appeal to the
Arizona Supreme Court.
(F)(3) (Grave Risk of Death to Others) -
This aggravating circumstance exists only if the defendant's
murderous act itself puts other people in the "zone of danger." The
inquiry is whether, during the course of the murder, the defendant
knowingly engaged in conduct that created a real and substantial
likelihood that a specific third person might suffer a fatal injury.
No single factor is dispositive of this aggravating circumstance. Here,
three employees were present in the confined garage space where the
defendant shot one of them. One of the employees was only six to eight
feet away from the victim when he was shot. The defendant then turned
toward another employee, as if to shoot him, but the employee fled.
There was evidence that the defendant cocked and uncocked the gun twice
between shooting the first victim and shooting the second. The other
employees were found to be in the zone of danger based on the
(F)(8) (Multiple Homicides) - UPHELD
The (F)(8) finding was upheld without extensive discussion.
Wood did not challenge the finding on appeal. Wood shot and killed his
estranged girlfriend and her father at a Tucson body shop. The Court
noted that this was a double murder and the trial court properly found
the existence of the (F)(8) aggravating circumstance.
The Court found that the following mitigating
circumstances existed, but were insufficiently substantial to call for
Impulsive personality exacerbated by drug
and alcohol abuse ["little, if any" weight]
History of substance abuse ["little, if any" weight]
Lack of Criminal History
The Court found the defendant failed to prove by a
preponderance of the evidence the existence of the following as
(G)(1) Significant Impairment [mental or
(G)(4) Death not Reasonably Foreseeable
Difficult Childhood/Family History
JUDGMENT: Convictions and
Joseph R. Wood III