Coach on trial in kidnap, rape, killing of Missouri girl

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Posted: Oct 30, 2017 3:44 PM
Coach on trial in kidnap, rape, killing of Missouri girl

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A defense attorney doesn't dispute that a middle-school football coach abducted a 10-year-old Missouri girl in broad daylight in front of witnesses, then raped and killed her.

At issue is whether teacher's aide Craig Wood deliberated before snatching Hailey Owens, as prosecutors argued Monday during opening statements, or whether it was impulsive, as the defense argues. The Springfield News-Leader reports that Wood's attorney, Patrick Berrigan, blamed long-suppressed urges and methamphetamine. Charges against Wood include first-degree murder.

Neighbors unsuccessfully attempted to rescue Hailey in February 2014, chasing after the suspect and recording his license plate. The prosecution described Wood going to a store to buy bleach and going to a laundromat to clean his clothes. Hailey's body was found in Wood's basement.

Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that Wood was a teacher's aide at the time of the crime.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com