SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A former middle-school football coach convicted of abducting and killing a 10-year-old girl in Missouri has been sentenced to death.
Circuit Judge Thomas Mountjoy issued his ruling Thursday in the case of Craig Wood, 49, who was convicted in November for the February 2014 death of Hailey Owens.
Although Wood was convicted of first-degree murder, the jury couldn’t agree on whether to sentence him to death, or life in prison without parole, leaving the judge to decide, reported Fox News.
Mountjoy previously denied motions from Wood’s attorneys that sought a new trial and called judge-imposed death sentences unconstitutional.
Hailey, a fourth-grader at the time, had been sick for a few days, so stayed at home from school, mother Stacey Herman told the Springfield News-Leader.
However, Wood snatched the young girl off a Springfield, Mo., street in broad daylight in front of horrified witnesses, reports said. She had previously called to say she was on the way home from a friends house.
Neighbors tried to rescue her, even chasing after the suspect and recording his license plate number.
Afterward, Wood took Hailey to his home, where he raped the child and shot her in the head, according to authorities. Her body was found in his basement, they said.
Prosecutors described Wood going to a store to buy bleach and a laundromat to clean his clothes.
Springfield residents and others reacted on social media after Wood’s death sentence, the News-Leader reported.
I’m 76, I’ll die before he does.
— Lee Ferber (@PeolaValley) January 11, 2018
— Terry Johnson (@koby72cuda) January 11, 2018
Some of the News-Leader’s readers were, however, opposed to the death penalty.
“It costs more to keep a prisoner on death row than life in prison. Why?” reader Ginger Williamson wrote to the newspaper. “Who do you think pays for all those appeals? We the taxpayers do.”
What do you think?