Friends: Suspected killer seemed like ideal father, Murder of family shocks neighbors — (Columbia Daily Tribune)

Original article no longer available

Columbia Daily Tribune (MO)

 February 20, 2000

Ann Tracy, Ph.D., Executive Director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, confirmed that Raymond Wood was taking Zoloft at the time of the murder.
WARRENSBURG (AP) ­ If there is such a thing as the ideal father, Raymond Wood seemed to fit the mold.  Friends and neighbors say they rarely saw Ray when he wasn’t carrying one of his six children in his arms.  He hunted with the boys, built a swing set for his girls and insisted on “family time” each night after dinner.  He even delivered his last three children with his own hands at their rural home in Central Missouri.  Their births were too precious to leave in the hands of a doctor he didn’t know.  That’s why so many people could not believe it when they heard that Wood had been arrested and charged with killing his wife and four of his children with a shotgun on Valentine’s Day. “You have to understand, Ray was one of the most dedicated and loving fathers we had ever seen,” said Della Davis, who lived next to the Woods for about six years. “He was a good husband.  He didn’t drink, smoke or flirt with other women. This just doesn’t seem possible.”
Wood was charged Tuesday with the deaths of Tina Wood, 31, and her sons Jared, 10, and Joshua, 8, and daughters Emily, 7, and Hannah, 5. He was also charged with two counts of first-degree assault against his other two daughters who were wounded. Wood was moved to a state mental health facility in Fulton for evaluation to see if he is fit to stand trial. If found competent, he could face the death penalty. While most people knew Wood as a caring and gentle man devoted to his family and religion, those close to the family say he also struggled with bouts of depression and mental illness. Davis and others say Wood was on anti-depression medication to control his moods, which at times would get so bad that he would leave his family and seek refuge at his parents’ home up the road.  “He never let anyone see him when he was like that.
He just went to his parents, and they dealt with it. They took care of him, and everything was fine,” Davis said. “I would say 95 percent of the time Ray was fine, but those other moments were also part of his life and he did his best to deal with it.”  Wood, 36, grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and his wife grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska. The couple married in 1987 and moved to Warrensburg, about 50 miles east of Kansas City, about 10 years ago to live next to Wood’s parents. There the couple joined a Restoration church, an offshoot of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints formed in the 1980s over opposition to ordination of women.  Tina Wood served as music director, and the family attended each Sunday, including the day before the killings, said pastor Dale Jenkins. “Tina would play the piano during parts of service, and her family was there to watch,” Jenkins said. “Everyone in our congregation is completely torn up over how this could have happened.”
The couple was known in the community for strong feelings about abortion.  She worked part time at a clinic that offered alternatives to abortion, and he had an anti-abortion bumper sticker on his pickup truck. In October 1996, Wood took out a quarter-page advertisement in Warrensburg’s The Daily Star-Journal attacking the stance of President Bill Clinton and other politicians on abortion. The ad ended by quoting scripture from Proverbs: “God hateth the hands that shed innocent blood.” The Woods lived in an underground home ­ a popular style in the area because of its energy efficiency. It is just yards away from his parents, Gerald and Carol Wood. Copyright 2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Copyright 2000, 2003 Columbia Daily Tribune Record Number:  0FBC2BB8E75AE6F8