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Death penalty phase in Fla. begins for Conway murderer

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 18. 2018 10:01PM

CONWAY — A Florida court jury next Monday will begin considering whether to impose the death penalty on the Maine man convicted of killing three men in Conway in 2007.

In May, Michael Lawrence Woodbury of Windham, Maine, pleaded guilty to the first-degree beating death of his cellmate at the Okeechobee Correctional Institution that took place eight months earlier.

At the time, Woodbury was serving three life sentences in Florida for having shot and killed three people at the Army Barracks store in Conway.

The cellmate Woodbury confessed to killing, Antoneeze Haynes, had been serving five life sentences since 1993 for the attempted murder, robbery, burglary and two counts of kidnapping that took place during a 1990 home invasion.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s report said Woodbury barricaded his cell door and started to attack Haynes with a combination lock that was tied to a sock. Haynes died from his injuries, prison officials said.

Initially at the trial before his plea, Woodbury claimed he was the victim of an assault.

“This case is first and foremost, from my perspective, about how my cellmate, Haynes, attempted to rape and sexually assault me while asleep in my bed in the middle of the night,” Woodbury said in his opening statement. “This case is secondly about how I reacted to Haynes’ rape attempt in a way that ultimately led to his death.”

After that attack and Woodbury’s guilty plea, Florida officials said they would seek the death penalty.

On July 2, 2007, Woodbury, then 31, walked into the Army Barracks store at 347 White Mountain Highway and shot store manager James Walker, 34, and two customers from Massachusetts, William Jones, 25, and Gary Jones, 23.

Walker and William Jones died at the scene, and Gary Jones died later at Maine Medical Center. The two Joneses were not related but were close friends who had been camping in Maine. The two campers walked in on Woodbury and apparently tried to halt his bid to steal gas money for the stolen cars in which he had been living.

The day after the murders, Woodbury gave himself up to a Fryeburg, Maine, patrol officer.

Woodbury has been serving a life sentence without parole in Florida since 2009.

Crime Conway

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