Jury convicts man in kidnapping, death of Hailey Owens

Hailey Owens

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) _A former middle school football coach has been found guilty of kidnapping a 10-year-old girl from a Missouri neighborhood in front of horrified witnesses before raping and killing her.

Jurors convicted 49-year-old Craig Wood on Thursday of first-degree murder in the 2014 death of Hailey Owens. Jurors will hear more arguments before deciding whether to recommend the death sentence.

The defense didn’t dispute that Wood killed the girl, but contended that Wood didn’t deliberate first, as prosecutors allege.

During the trial, a witness testified that he was raking leaves when he saw Wood pull Hailey into a pickup truck. The man was unable to get to the girl. His wife called 911 and reported the truck’s license plate, which led police to Wood’s home. Hailey’s body was in the basement.