Prosecutors say some small measure of justice achieved for murdered Springfield child, Hailey Owens

Published: Jan. 11, 2018 at 11:05 PM CST
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The Springfield teachers' aide and coach who kidnapped, raped and murdered a 10 year-old girl in Springfield will be executed for the crimes.

Judge Tom Mountjoy's decision came nearly two months after a jury failed to agree on Wood's punishment. Though they convicted him of first degree murder, for shooting her in the back of the head after he brutally sexually assaulted her.

His attorneys argued that his life should be spared. The state, reiterated, their point that killing an innocent child deserved the maximum sentence.

Ultimately the judge condemned Wood to death.

"For the offense of murder in the first degree, this court assesses and declares the punishment to be death for the murder of Hailey Owens," said Judge Thomas Mountjoy.

Before he sentenced Craig Wood to death he made his feelings about the case known.

"The death of innocence of a 10 year-old, little girl, Hailey, not only innocence but she gave her life. Also the death of innocence for a neighborhood, for a community, for family. Again, I think the earthquake analogy may be very accurate," said Mountjoy.

Wood never took the stand, not even when he had the chance to ask the judge to spare his life. He only spoke when he asked if he felt he was represented during the trial properly.

"I'm not a lawyer and I cannot effectively represent my own interests without the assistance of counsel at this time. I do not wish to any complaints or rights that I have therefore I respectfully, I will not be answering any questions of the court at this time," he said.

Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson said, "If the defendant hadn't even killed Hailey, he would have been facing a life sentence without the possibility of parole. When you think of all the things he did this was the right and just punishment."

It took years to get to this point.

"What we achieved today was some small measure of justice for her, her family and our community," said Patterson.

Owens' mother, Stacy Herman was too emotional to speak. Her attorney David Ransin read her statement for her.

"He didn't let Hailey have a choice so why should I let him have a choice about his fate. Knowing Craig Wood will never get out and never hurt another child is my satisfaction," he said.

For Patterson, the last three years weren't easy.

"I don't know that satisfying is the right word. You really can't celebrate something like this because in the end Hailey is still no longer with us," he said.

Owens' mother says she will continue to fight to change the Amber Alert laws. It's her effort to honor her daughter.

"My family will have to move on but with never be the same," said Ransin.

Wood will now sit in a state prison until he appeals his case or is put to death.

Craig Wood's family declined our request for an interview at this time.

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