Mo. Coach to Plead Not Guilty in Hailey Owens' Kidnap and Killing
SPRINGFIELD (AP) - The lawyer for a middle-school football coach who's accused of kidnapping and killing a 10-year-old girl in Missouri says Craig Wood is planning to plead not guilty. The public defender's announcement came during a brief hearing today.
Wood is accused of snatching Hailey Owens as she walked home from a friend's house Tuesday evening in Springfield. Court records indicate her body was found in Wood's basement. Prosecutors say she was shot in the back of the head and that she had ligature marks on her wrists, suggesting she was tied up.
Public defender Chris Hatley said Wood plans to contest the charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed criminal action.
Wood appeared by video from a jail where he is being held without bond. He spoke only briefly to answer several questions from the judge. Hailey's parents, older brother and five other family members attended the hearing.
A prosecutor challenged Wood's use of a public defender, saying police found evidence of a $1 million trust in Wood's name. He said, "I think he can afford his own attorney." The defense attorney replied that "it's frankly none of his business." The judge said he would consider the matter.