Execution date set for Troy man on death row

Published 9:40 pm Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Alabama Supreme Court set an execution date Thursday for a Troy man on death row.

Holly Wood, who is the only Pike County inmate on death row, was convicted of shooting and killing his former girlfriend Ruby Lois Gosha in 1993.

Gosha, 34, of Troy, was shot in the head with a shotgun by Wood as she was lying in bed on Sept. 1, 1993.

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Wood will be executed Sept. 2, the state Supreme Court determined Thursday.

This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court would not overturn his death sentence in January, with a 7-2 vote.

Pike County District Attorney Gary McAliley, who was a judge at the time, said in a previous article in The Messenger the case started in the Pike County District Court, leading to a Grand Jury indictment and a trial in the Pike County Circuit Court.

“He exhausted all his state remedies — the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, Alabama Supreme Court, then Federal Court, arguing his constitutional rights had been violated,” McAliley said.

It was in federal court, a judge tossed out the death sentence on the basis Wood’s lawyer failed to tell jurors Wood had an IQ of less than 70 and had been classified as mentally retarded, reported the Associated Press.

Then in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, the death penalty was reinstated, arguing Wood “failed to show that the lawyer was unconstitutionally ineffective.”

At the time of the incident, Wood was 33. He was arrested at his father’s home in Luverne, where a 12-guage shotgun was found under a pile of leaves.

“He was a most dangerous person, and we’re very fortunate he doesn’t hurt more people,” McAliley said in a former article.

“Society is better off with him locked up for as long as he can be.”

McAliley said Wood is the third in the district to be on death row, along with Elba’s Willie Simmons Jackson and Billy Joe Magwood also in line. The Court also set execution for Aug. 12 for Michael Jeffrey Land, who was convicted in May 1992 with killing 30-yea-old Candace Brown.

Hikers found her body in an abandoned limestone quarry on Birmingham’s Ruffner Mountain, the AP reports.