The Desert Killer was dubbed “The Killer”‘ David Leonard Wood was found guilty of abducting and killing at least six girls and women between 1987 and 1988 in El Paso, Texas. Even after being arrested as a murderer and sentenced, the serial killer and sexual predator continue to delay the execution date using laws that have loopholes. Investigation Discovery’s “On the Case with Paula Zahn: Buried Dreams will take viewers through the tangled investigation of David and the process by which the police finally got him caught. So, who really is David Leonard Wood? Let’s discover!
Who Is David Leonard Wood?
The birth of David Leonard Wood was on June 20, 1957, located in San Angelo, Texas. David Leonard Wood is the second child of his parents, Leo and Betty Wood. David’s parents were financially prosperous, and his father worked as an executive with El Paso Electric Company. El Paso Electric Company. They lived in a posh area located in El Paso during the ’60s. But their private lives as a couple of Woods were turbulent and not exactly tranquil. According to court documents, their mother of David has been admitted with serious depression and “institutionalized for a total of six months in a psychiatric hospital and received electro-convulsive shock treatments.”
Also, read Where is Chef Sarah Minnick Now?
Growing up in a chaotic and seemingly abusive home, David witnessed his mother and father constantly engage in fighting. David also said that he was the one to bear the brunt of it, being beaten with a paddle by his father every time the latter was not behaving. When Betty had to be admitted into an infirmary in the mid-60s, and his father was occupied with his job, hers and their kids received little attention. Many of David’s early years were at foster homes or with family members living in Chaparral, New Mexico. He was not a great academic student and even failed a few classes before dropping out of school.
David’s defense documents during his appeal said, “He was a failure in the first and third grades in addition to the grade 9. He was enrolled in special education classes and then, in the end, dropped out of high school in the beginning in his third attempt in ninth grade. When he resigned from the school, Mr. Wood was seventeen-and-a-half years old, still a freshman at high school, and three years ahead of his classmates.” The report also stated that he was interested in joining the Army; however, no details about his application were made available.
David was just 19 when he was handed his first sentence in prison in 1977. According to reports, David was charged with sexual harassment and indecent exposure of a minor in August of 1976. He admitted guilt to the charges in January 1977 and was sentenced to five months in prison. After he was released within a couple of months, the man was detained for a second time on the charges of raping teenagers and a 19-year-old in March and June of the same year. David was guilty of the crime on June 19 20th, 1980. He was sent to prison for 20 years of prison on each count. The two sentences were imposed in parallel.
Wood was given the parole offer and was released on January 14, 1987, after serving just the six-year sentence. Wood was able to return home to El Paso, took up employment in a local furniture store, and was employed as a mechanic and laborer. He also went to bars and nightclubs, was an integral part of a motorbike club, and became popular with women due to his tough appearance with tattoos, long hair, and charismatic, vivacious personality.
In the early part of 1987, between mid-1987 and early to mid-1987, several teenage girls and young women began disappearing from El Paso. Then, investigators discovered the bodies of the 24-year-old Rosa Maria Casio and 20-year-old Karen Baker in the desert northwest of El Paso. Investigators knew they were dealing with a serial killer and sexual predators on the loose. But, the absence of a national-scale database during that period hindered the investigation. On September 19, 1987, a female sex worker identified as Judith Kelling Brown contacted the police to report that she had been taken hostage and sexually assaulted by a young man between the end of July and early August 1987.
Also, read Linda Robinson Murder: Where is James Edward Mitchell Now?
In the course of being shown images, Brown identified David as her abductor and rapist. The police also discovered the bodies of other girls missing, including the 23-year-old Ivy Susanna Williams, 15-year-old Desiree Wheatley and 17 Angelica Frausto, and 14-year-old Dawn Marie Smith. The police could not prove the connection between David and the murders, but he was found guilty of abducting and sexually assaulting Brown in March 1988. Because it was a major violation of the parole conditions, the judge sentenced him to 50 years of prison.
Investigators also were able to obtain search warrants for his car, apartment as well, and other items. When they went through the garbage bag from David’s vacuum, cleaner authorities discovered an amount of lint that was similar to the clothing the victim wore. However, David had been boasting about his crimes to several prisoners at the county jail where he was imprisoned. In the end, David was arrested for the six murders. He remained a suspect in the disappearance of three additional.
Where is David Leonard Wood Today?
When the case made the news, David Leonard Wood’s lawyer was able to alter the venue for his client’s trial in Dallas. The trial began in November 1992. found guilty of the murders in all six cases and was sentenced to die on January 14, 1993. But, David continued to file numerous appeals against the sentence and was able to delay the date of his execution on August 19, 2009, just one day before his execution date. His lawyers justified the postponement due to indications that suggested mental health issues.
Also, read Where Is Chef Chris Bianco Now | Everything Explained!
David was a victim of six IQ tests between 1977 and 2011. His appeal was thrown out due to technical reasons. His defense counsel filed an additional appeal in 2016 seeking his sentence rescinded following an appointment for a fresh trial. They also asked for a DNA test. However, the tests for DNA on the evidence taken from the victims’ clothing did not yield any conclusive results the appeal was rejected. According to court records, there is no time for the execution of David to be determined at this time, and he continues to be imprisoned in a cell of the Allan B. Polunsky Unit in West Livingston, Texas.