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Slain O.C. Teen's Mother Boosts Prop. 187 : Elections: Opponent of anti-illegal immigrant initiative says gesture by Kathy Woods, whose son was slain with a paint roller rod, is misguided.

November 06, 1994|GEBE MARTINEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Kathy Woods, mother of the 17-year-old San Clemente youth slain in a confrontation last year, Saturday endorsed Proposition 187, the controversial initiative that would deny social services, education and all but emergency health care to illegal immigrants.

"If our borders were controlled, probably my son would be alive today," said Woods, a legal immigrant from England who cannot vote in Tuesday's election.

Wednesday marks the first anniversary of the death of Steven Woods, who was killed when a paint roller rod pierced his skull on Oct. 15 as he and friends were attempting to drive away from a confrontation with a group of Latino youths.

Three of the youths have been convicted of charges stemming from the case, one has pleaded guilty and two more are awaiting trial. Woods said she believes that some of the youths involved are illegal immigrants.

"I feel like I had a wake-up call," Woods said, explaining how her son's death had alerted her to illegal immigration. "There are people just like me, who have had their head in the sand."

Amin David, president of Los Amigos of Orange County, said Saturday that, although Woods' comments "might strengthen the resolve of those who are for (Proposition 187), I think she's misguided. . . . I sympathize with the pain of a grieving mother."

Organizers of the initiative said that when they first began their petition drive, they considered calling it the "Steven Woods Memorial Initiative." The X-ray of her son's skull was once used in a newsletter by a committee supporting Proposition 187.

Early on, the Woods case sparked outrage among Latino leaders who feared that racism may have played a role in the filing of the murder charges against the Latino defendants.

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