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Jasper man killed in fiery wreck Friday was set to stand trial for murder in Ector County
SABINE COUNTY - by Steve W Stewart/KJAS & Rayburn Broadcasting Company
KJAS News has learned that a Jasper resident, who died in a fiery accident early Friday morning in Sabine County, was scheduled to stand trial for murder next month in Ector County. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 39-year-old Clifford Paul Woods was killed when the 2001 Jeep Cherokee he was driving ran off of Highway 83 east of Hemphill, crashed into trees, and then caught on fire with Woods trapped inside.
According to the Odessa American, Woods was accused of the November 2010 stabbing death of 29-year-old Brian Allen Dillon during an altercation after the two left an Odessa bar.
Woods was later indicted on the murder charge by an Ector County Grand Jury, and he was free from jail on a $50,000.00 bond and residing in Jasper when the deadly accident occurred last week.
In a November 19th, 2010 jailhouse interview with Odessa American reporter Jon Vanderlaan, Woods said he met a woman in a bar in Odessa, and she was being harassed by three men, one of who was Dillon. Woods said he took the woman out of the bar and was going to drive her to another location for her safety. However, Woods told the reporter that Dillon and the others followed him, and tried to run him off the road.
Woods said he and the woman arrived at a friend's house, and got out to discover that Dillon and the others had followed him there. Woods said Dillon attacked him, and he had to use a knife to defend himself, subsequently stabbing Dillon in the arm and neck. Dillon later died from the injuries.
Vanderlaan's story said Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson told him that the two men who were with Dillon have a very different story. Donaldson said the men claimed that they were just following Woods to a party after being at the bar. However, Donaldson wouldn't elaborate on their version of how the incident happened.
In his jailhouse interview, which took place three days after the death and his arrest, Woods said "It's just surreal". "It's destroyed some man's life. It's destroyed my life," Woods said.
Woods went on to say that he was trying to be brave and stick up for someone who couldn't stick up for herself. Woods said the "knight in shining armor" mentality kicked in when he arrived at his friend's house. "The next thing I know, I wake up, and I'm a monster," Woods said, speaking of the murder accusation against him.
Those who knew Woods in the Odessa area described him as anything but a murderer. Blaine Corbin, who worked with Woods in Special Olympics basketball, softball and track teams, said "He's the last person in the world I would expect to be charged with something like that." Corbin went on to say "He's never upset, never mad; he's about the most happy-go-lucky person in the world.