Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 54° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

Death row inmate who killed two women in Spokane Valley dies of cardiac arrest

A man who killed two women in a Spokane Valley mobile home and spent nearly 20 years on Washington’s death row has died of cardiac arrest.

Dwayne Anthony Woods, one of nine people on the state’s death row, died Sunday night at the Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, according to the Department of Corrections.

The department said Woods, 46, had been under observation for a chronic illness but gave no other details about his medical condition. An autopsy is expected.

Woods was convicted in June 1997 on two counts of aggravated first-degree murder for the killings of Telisha Shaver, 22, and Jade Moore, 18. He also raped Moore and beat and stabbed Shaver’s sister, Venus Shaver, who was 20. All three women were clubbed in the head with an aluminum baseball bat.

Three days after his conviction, Woods stunned a Spokane County courtroom by asking to be sentenced to death. A unanimous jury granted his wish the next day. Held in the state prison in Walla Walla, he maintained his innocence and filed several appeals, most recently in June 2016.

Shaver’s parents still live in Spokane Valley. They received news of Woods’ death on Tuesday, their 48th wedding anniversary.

“It was supposed to happen. He was supposed to die,” said Sherry Shaver, who arrived at the mobile home on April 27, 1996, to find her two daughters and their friend covered in blood, barely alive.

She took the witness stand more than a year later and told the jury she spotted Woods leaving through another door of the trailer. “I looked him in the eyes,” she said at the time.

Venus Shaver had known Woods but the two never dated, her mother said Tuesday, disputing previous descriptions of their relationship.

“He would kind of bother her, but it was nothing that she ever felt threatened by until that night,” Sherry Shaver said.

Venus Shaver and Moore were staying at the mobile home near Sprague Avenue, which belonged to Shaver’s aunt. Shaver paged Woods and gave him a ride to the trailer, where he attacked her and Moore in the early morning hours. He attacked Telisha Shaver when she arrived hours later.

Moore and Telisha Shaver died the next day at a Spokane hospital. Venus Shaver spent 10 days in the hospital and eventually recovered. She is now married and has two children. Her mother said she prefers not to discuss the attacks publicly.

“The entire process has been a nightmare for us,” Sherry Shaver said. The criminal justice system “lets you down at every step of the way.”

Shaver, a retired travel agent, watched for 20 years as Woods sought to overturn his conviction and was twice shot down by the state Supreme Court.

“It’s ridiculous how many appeals these convicted murderers get,” Shaver said. “He was able to have visitors, he could watch TV, he had all these privileges, all these rights. My daughter didn’t.”

Shaver said she was especially upset when Gov. Jay Inslee declared a moratorium on state executions in 2014, saying the way the death penalty is applied is too flawed to let more go forward.

Shaver and Jade Moore’s mother, Terri Moore, told KHQ they requested to speak with Inslee in March 2014 and were turned down. An Inslee spokesperson said the governor was busy at the time.

“I was promised that I could go see the execution,” Terri Moore told the TV station. “How dare you change the rules in the middle of the game? (Inslee) has no right. Those guys have been sentenced to death by a judge and jury.”

Moore couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

Despite Inslee’s moratorium, the death penalty remains a part of state law, so any reprieves require that Inslee exercise his authority as governor.

Inslee last week signed a reprieve for Clark Richard Elmore, who had been convicted of raping and killing his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter, Kristy Ohnstad, in Bellingham in 1995. With his legal appeals exhausted, Elmore will remain in prison for life. His execution had been scheduled for Jan. 19.

No execution date had been set for Woods.

Telisha Shaver had been an avid golfer since she was 6 and wanted to play professionally, her mother said. Weeks after her death, a letter arrived at the family’s home. She had been accepted into an LPGA training camp.

“We didn’t even know she had applied,” Sherry Shaver said. “Her dream would have come true.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.