Platte County jury found 49-year-old Craig Wood guilty of murdering 10-year-old Hailey Owens of Springfield.
The jury in the Springfield case had been chosen in Platte County and transported to Springfield for the trial.
The jury handed down the guilty verdict on Monday at 4:24 p.m. After weighing all the mitigating factors, the jury was unable to agree upon a punishment. The aggravating circumstances the jury found beyond a reasonable doubt included the murder involved torture and depravity. Subsequently, a sentencing hearing will be set at a later date.
Wood has until Dec. 1 to file a motion for a new trial.
Court documents reveal at 4:48 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2014 police responded to 3247 W. Lombard regarding an abduction. Two eyewitnesses told authorities they saw a white male in a tan Ford Ranger pull up next to the victim and asked her where Springfield Street was located. When the victim turned to walk away from the vehicle, Wood allegedly said, “Hey, come here a minute,” and motioned for the girl to step toward the vehicle.
As Owens took a step closer, Woods allegedly lunged out of the vehicle and pulled her inside with his left hand. Before he fled the scene at a high rate of speed, witnesses obtained the license plate to the Ford pickup.
The license plate number was registered to a Jim and Regina Wood in Ash Grove. During an interview, Jim informed the police that his son, Craig Wood, drove the 2008 Ford pickup.
When police arrived at Craig’s residence at 1538 E. Stanford, they allegedly saw him sitting inside the tan Ford Ranger in his driveway. He initially told police he just left Pleasant View Middle School, where he was employed. He later revoked that statement and told authorities he drove around for a while.
Later than evening, police searched Wood’s residence looking for Owen. Officers detected a strong odor of bleach in the basement, states court documents.
When detectives returned to search the residence the following afternoon with a signed search warrant, they discovered two plastic storage totes down in the basement of the home. One contained the body of Owens.
Tom Van De Berg, chief investigator for the Greene County Medical Examiner’s Office, told authorities Owen had a gunshot wound to the base of her skull. A crime scene technician located a .22 caliber shell casing inside Wood’s basement.