A man accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering a 10-year-old girl in Springfield last February appeared in court on Tuesday for a motions hearing. The defense attorney, prosecuting attorney and judge discussed various motions and procedures, and possible trial dates for Craig Wood, but no decisions or agreements were made, except that a jury from outside Greene County will hear the case.
Wood is accused of killing Hailey Owens, 10. Police found her body at his home in central Springfield a few hours after a man grabbed her off a street near her home, threw her in a pickup and drove away on the afternoon of Feb. 18.
An autopsy found Hailey was sexually assaulted and shot in the head. Prosecutors will seek a death penalty if they get a first-degree murder conviction against Wood.
Greene County Circuit Judge Dan Conklin is hearing the case, but made no rulings on Tuesday morning.
Patrick Berrigan, the defense attorney, wants the trial to be moved out of the Springfield area. Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson hopes to bring an out-of-town jury into Springfield to hear the case here.
Patterson also hopes for a trial next April, but the defense says it is not prepared to move that quickly, as it is still waiting on reports from prosecutors and police.
The judge scheduled another hearing for Oct. 2 on the defense's motion for a change of venue. At that hearing, the judge likely will hear testimony from news directors and editors about their organizations' coverage of Hailey Owens' kidnapping and murder, and the arrest and charging of Wood. Berrigan contends the coverage of the case has been so extensive that Wood couldn't receive a fair trial in Springfield.
Wood was an aide and coach at Pleasant View Middle School on the north side of Springfield. Investigators have not revealed if they found a connection between Wood and Hailey or her family prior to the kidnapping. Hailey attended Westport Elementary School.
Tuesday evening in the news at 5, 6 & 10, you can hear from the family of Hailey about what happened in court.