Baby killer denied pardon
November 15, 2004
A Sparks man who has spent 27 of his 47-year prison sentence for murdering his infant child was denied a chance at eventual freedom by the Nevada Pardons Board on Monday.
The board consists of the governor, attorney general and members of the Nevada Supreme Court. With Attorney General Brian Sandoval absent, the Supreme Court members present split 3-3 on whether to commute Tony Wood’s life sentence to permit the possibility of parole. The deciding vote was cast by Gov. Kenny Guinn, who said no.
Wood was 20 when he strangled his infant to death in order to collect on an insurance policy.
The vote came despite support from the Department of Corrections, which pointed out he has had one minor infraction in his prison time. Supporters testified he has done everything asked to rehabilitate himself.
But Justice Nancy Becker summed up the opposition when she said he can never rehabilitate himself from murdering a baby to collect insurance money.
The board did approve parole eligibility for Sandy Shaw, who has now served 18 years for first-degree murder in Las Vegas. She would have been eligible for parole in 2009.
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The ruling Monday allows her to apply for parole immediately, but doesn’t guarantee she will get it.
Shaw was 15 when the crime was committed.
The board found a compromise in the case of Linda Cabanilla, who has served nearly 11 years for shooting her husband to death.
There was emotional testimony from the victim’s family urging she never be released. But there was also testimony she had been diagnosed as a battered spouse and that the victim had beaten one of the couple’s children.
The board voted to modify the double-life sentence imposed on Cabanilla. She will be eligible to seek parole in five years.
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.