Jury recommends Louisa man get life in prison for 2017 murder

Clifford “Peter” Wood III (Source: Louisa Sheriff's Office)
Clifford “Peter” Wood III (Source: Louisa Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jan. 11, 2019 at 7:50 PM EST
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LOUSIA, VA (WWBT) - A jury recommended Friday night that Clifford “Peter” Wood III spend the rest of his life behind bars for the murder of Sean Houchens.

Houchens was shot to death around 1:40 a.m. Sept. 1, 2017, in the 17000 block of Jefferson Highway near the Hanover County line.

Court records say Wood was agitated with his mistresses and sent intimidating text messages about men at their residence. Houchens was shot four times after Wood confronted him at the home.

An hour before the shooting, deputies say Wood robbed someone else at the same address.

Houchens was flown to the University of Virginia Hospital with serious life-threatening injuries where he later died.

Wood then traveled to Doswell, abandoned his car, then fled to Tennessee, before returning to Virginia during a multi-day search. He was arrested 10 days later on Sept. 11, 2017.

The jury convicted Wood of first-degree murder in less than 30 minutes after his defense team tried to argue self-defense. The recommendation of life in prison plus three years came five minutes later.

Wood will be formally sentenced on March 25.

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