A Missouri man accused of raping and shooting a 10-year-old girl to death in 2014 was found guilty by a jury on Thursday.
The St. Louis Dispatch reported that Craig Wood, 49, was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Hailey Owens. On Friday, a Springfield court began hearing arguments which will determine whether the 49-year-old should be put to death.
Wood pulled Owens into his truck as she walked to her home on February 18, 2014. Prosecutors said he raped the 10-year-old, took her down to his basement, and shot her to death. The girl’s body was found hours later in a plastic tub in his basement, according to WDAF.
The station reported that a woman who saw Wood abduct Owens called 911 and reported the truck’s license plate as her husband chased the vehicle.
It's been years from the day I received your amber alert
Today a guilty verdict
— Trooper Ben (@TrooperBenKHP) November 2, 2017
Pushing for second-degree murder, defense attorneys unsuccessfully argued that Wood acted compulsively and didn’t plan to kill the 10-year-old. Patrick Berrigan claimed his client was a victim of circumstance, saying that he spent most of his life “depressed [and] medicating himself with alcohol and drugs,” KOLR reported.
Greene County prosecutor Dan Patterson claimed that Wood deliberately shot Owens in the back of her head to “get rid of her” after sexually assaulting her.
“Thank you for seeing through the excuses, this was not some drug-fueled compulsion. This was a deliberate man who thought about having sex with a child and then made it happen. He made these choices. He knows what he was doing, in the words of his friend and boss. This was normal Craig,” Patterson said Friday.
A judge ordered that prosecutors could present evidence of how the 10-year-old’s murder affected the community.
The penalty phase of the trial began Friday and is expected to last two weeks.
[Featured Image: Kansas Bureau of Investigation/Greene County Jail]