Ex-coach convicted of 10-year-old’s rape, murder in Missouri

The penalty phase of Craig Michael Wood's trial for the murder of Hailey Owens began Friday. Photo courtesy Greene County Sheriff's Office

Nov. 4 (UPI) — A Missouri jury convicted a former middle school coach in the rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl, a crime he blamed on his use of methamphetamine.

After one hour of deliberation Thursday, the jury said Craig Michael Wood was guilty of first-degree murder. Wood, 49, abducted Hailey Owens as she walked home from school Feb. 18, 2014, raped her, then fatally shot her with a .22-caliber rifle.

Wood didn’t deny he killed the girl. His lawyer argued his actions were influenced by his use of meth, which was found in his Springfield, Mo., home after the murder.

Prosecutors said that because Wood used the quietest firearm in his home to kill Hailey, it showed intent.

“If you look at the totality of the crime, you know this was a very deliberate act,” Greene County prosecutor Dan Patterson said, according to the Springfield News-Leader.

The penalty phase of the trial began Friday.

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