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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Father, Whose Son Steven Woods, Jr., Was Executed From Texas Deathrow, Tells Kids: "I Wasn't A Parent [To My Son], I was just Being A Friend Because I Wanted Them To Love Me For Something That I Wasn't".

Father whose son was executed warns kids about drugs and alcohol
Club Sponsor: ‘A real-life story is better than someone just telling a story’
By LAUREL WILSON

Steven Woods Sr. of Bowling Green has delivered anti-drug talks around Warren County for 10 years. But he said a speech before a group of students at Warren East Middle School on Wednesday was the

hardest one he's given.

It was the first time Woods has spoken to a group since his son, Steven Woods Jr., was executed in Texas on Sept. 13 after a decade of being on death row. "The reality of what was going to happen actually happened," Woods said.

Woods Sr. visited Warren East Middle School to share his story with students in Club Pride, which aims to teach children about the consequences of drugs and alcohol and to help them make the right choices. It's important for students to learn firsthand about the reality of drugs, said Brenda Lawrence, the club's sponsor.

"A real-life story is better than someone just telling a story," Lawrence said.

The elder Woods told the group he began using drugs at age 13 because of peer pressure while he was growing up in Michigan. "I thought I wanted to be with the cool crowd," he said. "It's not the cool crowd. In my book, it's the dumbest crowd there ever is."

Woods Sr. said he used any drug he could get his hands on, including cocaine, heroin, LSD and marijuana. He introduced his children from his first marriage to drugs at a young age, he said.

"I wasn't a parent, I was just being a friend because I wanted them to love me for something that I wasn't," Woods Sr. said.

His oldest son, Woods Jr., followed much the same path as his father. As a teen, Woods Jr. began to hitchhike around the country in search of drugs and clubs that would let him in even though he wasn't yet of age.

When the younger Woods was 21, he was involved in a drug deal in Texas that went bad, resulting in the murders of two people. He was charged with capital murder and sentenced to die.

"He got his last high by the state of Texas when they injected that drug into him that slowly stopped his heart," the elder Woods said. After 10 years on death row, it took just 10 minutes for his son to die.

"Drugs will either kill you or put you in jail," Woods Sr. said. "And I can guarantee you that."

He showed the audience pictures of his son, including his mug shot.

"That mug shot right there - I want you all to remember that," Woods Sr. said. "I want you all to go home tonight and give the person you love the most a hug and tell them how much you love them, because I can never hug my son again."

Woods Sr. said he was clean and sober for more than nine years before he fell off the wagon a week before his son was executed.

"For just a little while, because of what was going on in my life, I thought I had the strength to handle it," he said.

He lost that strength but managed to pull himself back up, because he realized he wasn't doing himself or anyone else any good by falling back into his old habits, he said.

Woods Sr. said he knows many students in the audience have seen drugs, and he urged them to resist peer pressure.

"These people that you've seen do drugs - I think you should talk to them about it," he said. "Tell them what could happen in life."

He asked the students to think about their dreams, whether they want to become sports players, lawyers, doctors or anything else.

"Well, I'll tell you, if you get involved in drugs, you can forget about them dreams," he said.

Woods Sr. has another son, Patrick Woods, 13, who's in seventh grade at Warren East Middle School and a member of Club Pride.

Patrick said knowing his father's situation has helped him stay away from drugs.

"Where I used to live, I could have done drugs any time I wanted to, but I knew about my dad so I didn't," Patrick said.

Codey Stoll, 13, a seventh-grade member of Club Pride, said hearing stories such as that of the Woods family help him realize how bad drugs can be.

"What you think can't happen really can happen, and quickly," Codey said.

Editor's comment: This news should sound an ALARM to those "parents" who insist on being friends with their children and ABDICATING their GOD given responsibilities to PARENT their children instead!

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