WELCH — After hearing a letter from his victim’s family, a McDowell County man who shot and then dismembered his wife in 2016 was sentenced Monday to a maximum of 40 years for second-degree murder.
Woody Alfred Wood Jr., 36, of the English area in McDowell County was brought before Circuit Court Judge Rudolph J. Murensky for sentencing. Wood pleaded guilty Aug. 18 to second-degree murder. He had been facing first-degree murder for the shooting death of his wife, Rebecca Wood.
According to court records, Wood shot his wife on or about March 29, 2016 after arguing with her. Wood then dismembered her body, placed those body parts in trash bags, and buried them in their home’s basement. Wood later spoke with investigators and confessed to murdering his wife, McDowell County Sheriff Martin B. West said soon after the arrest.
Attorney Thomas H. Evans, who represented Wood with attorney Joshua Miller, said that his client did not wish to address the court. Murensky then reminded Wood that he could make a statement before sentencing, but Wood again said that he didn’t wish to do so.
“It is a tragic case as is every case involving a death,” Evans told the court. “We ask the court to consider Mr. Wood’s very, very limited record. Mr. Wood would just like to place himself at the mercy of the court.” Evans said.
Murensky denied the defense’s motion for probation.
McDowell County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Kornish addressed the court and called Rebecca Wood’s murder “a senseless killing.” The actual motive is still unknown.
“Woody Wood shot and killed his wife for no good reason,” Kornish said. “We don’t know why. This is something that will haunt her family and the Wood family ... Rebecca was shot with a rifle. The barrel was several feet from her head.”
Wood then, with help, dismembered his wife, placed her body in black trash bags, and buried them in their home’s basement. He then hid a bloody mattress and his bloody bed clothes, Kornish said. He proceeded to lie about his wife’s whereabouts.
“The day after, he goes to her parents’ house for dinner,” he stated. “He tells them one of two stories and has dinner like nothing happened. The facts behind this case are especially heinous.”
Rebecca Wood’s eldest sister, Cynthia Harman, read a letter from the family, and called the murder “a heinous, senseless act,” later adding, “It took a real monster to take hours to cut her up and bury her. But to kill someone, and kill someone you love, and act like nothing happened takes a mean, heartless monster.”
Harman said her sister gave half the house to Woody Wood as an anniversary gift and loved him, only to be dismembered by the man who was supposed to love her.
“We understand he had help because Becky was a very big woman,” Harman said. “We pray that every time they close their eyes, they will see her.”
Kornish said that he believed Wood had help disposing of his wife’s body, but this had not been proven. An investigation into who helped Wood dispose of a bloodstained mattress is continuing.
“Every homicide is a horrific matter because someone has lost their life,” Mursensky said when sentencing Wood. “The defendant gave a statement to the police which I disallowed, but I don’t believe it was accurate because if you believed it, (shooting) was an accident.”
“We do know Becky is deceased as a result of Mr. Wood’s actions,” Mursensky stated.
Mursensky sentenced Wood to the maximum of 40 years in prison, adding, “It probably should be more.”
Harman held a small purple snowman doll while she addressed the court. She said her 4-year-old granddaughter, Hailey, made it while the children were making snowman dolls because she wanted her Aunt Becky to have one, too. Purple was Rebecca Wood’s favorite color.
After Wood was sentenced, he suddenly told the court that he wanted to say something to his late wife’s family. Murensky reminded Wood that he had had two opportunities to speak and declined both of them. He denied Wood’s request.
“If he wants to say anything, he can write them a letter,” Murensky said just before Wood was led from the courtroom.
— Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org