Friday, June 14, 2024

Oklahoma Halts Execution of Tremane Wood Before February 8, 2024

Updated: Monday, February 5, 2024

Tremane WoodTremane Wood was scheduled to be executed on Thursday, February 8, 2024, inside the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary near McAlester, Oklahoma. His execution has been stayed and he is awaiting a new execution date. Forty-four-year-old Tremane is convicted of murdering Ronald Wipf on January 1, 2002, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For the last 19 years, Tremane has resided on Oklahoma’s death row.

Tremane had a difficult childhood. He was physically and emotionally abused. His parents were frequently absent and did not provide supervision or guidance. They also divorced when Tremane was young. Tremane spent time in foster care as a child.

On New Year’s Eve 2001, Ronald Wipf and Arnold Kleinsasser were celebrating at the Bricktown Brewery in Oklahoma City. Tremane Wood, his brother Zjaiton, and two girls, Lanita and Brandy were also there celebrating. Near closing, Ronald and Arnold met Lanita and Brandy and invited them back to their motel to continue celebrating. The girls agreed and made a plan with Tremane and Zjaiton to rob the two men.

Once at the motel, the girls pretended to be prostitutes and agreed to have intercourse with the men in exchange for money. The men had to go to an ATM to withdraw the necessary cash and return to the room. After obtaining the money, the girls went into the bathroom, at which time, someone knocked roughly on the door, demanding to speak with Brandy. Arnold reached for the phone to call the police, however, Lanita had already picked it up and pretended to call the police. Ronald demanded the women return the money since they were not going to be having sex.

Eventually, the door to the room was open and Lanita and Brandy ran out and into a waiting car. Two masked men rushed into the room, with the larger man, later identified as Zjaiton, holding a gun. The second smaller man, Tremane was holding a knife. The masked men demanded money, and Arnold gave them the rest of the money they had. Tremane and Ronald engaged in a physical altercation, resulting in Ronald being stabbed. Zjaiton joined in the attack and Arnold was able to escape the room. Arnold witnessed the white car in which the girls were in eventually leave the parking lot. When he finally returned to the room the following morning, he learned that Ronald died from his injuries.

During Tremane’s trial, Brandy testified against Tremane as part of her plea deal. Zjaiton also testified. Zjaiton claimed that he committed the crime with another man and that Tremane was not involved. Video evidence showed the two men and two women buying the knife and ski masks earlier in the night. In a separate trial, Zjaiton was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. During appeals, Tremane argued that he received ineffective legal help from his court-appointed attorney. He also alleged that his attorney was struggling with substance abuse and failed to present mitigating evidence that could have resulted in a lesser sentence. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals have both upheld Tremane’s death sentence despite these arguments.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has requested that several of the upcoming scheduled executions in the state be rescheduled to allow more time between them. Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections is currently understaffed and preparing for an execution is time intensive. Drummond’s request was granted by the courts. Several executions have been rescheduled, however many, including Tremane Wood’s have not yet received their new execution dates.

Pray for the family of Ronald Wipf. Pray for healing for Arnold Kleinsasser. Please pray for strength for the family of Tremane Wood. Please pray that if Tremane is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided before his execution. Pray that Tremane may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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