Prosecutor to Seek Death Penalty in Hailey Owens Case
SPRINGFIELD - Craig Michael Wood, the man accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering 10-year-old Hailey Owens in February, will face the death penalty if he is convicted of first-degree murder.
Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson told a judge Friday he would pursue the death penalty if Wood is convicted just before Wood's first appearance in a circuit court.
Patterson says that Hailey's death was "outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture, or depravity of mind," one of the legal standard required to seek death in first-degree murder cases in Missouri.
Wood waived his right to a formal reading of the counts against him and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
A Greene County associate circuit judge ruled in May that prosecutors have enough evidence to try Wood for the crimes he is accused of.
A pre-trial conference for the case is set for August 26.
Wood remains in a Greene County jail while awaiting trial.