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Lawmaker Seeks Swift Justice for Heinous Acts Against Children

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- One Missouri legislator wants swift justice for Hailey Owens.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- One Missouri legislator wants swift justice for Hailey Owens.

The piece of legislation he is proposing, in part, revolves around the Greene County Prosecutor pursuing and getting the death penalty as a punishment for Craig Michael Wood.

Wood is charged, but not convicted, in the kidnapping and death of 10-year-old Hailey Owens on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Police say they found the girl dead in Wood's home, just hours after eyewitnesses saw him grab her off the street.

The Florida legislature enacted a similar law in 2013.

The Missouri version focuses on someone who both kidnaps and murders someone.

The law shortens the amount of time from the end of their appeals to the time of their execution.

"For an absolute loss of an angel's life,” says Missouri State Senator Dan Brown. “It was a heinous crime, a heinous act and I hope justice is done swiftly and completely."

Brown says the last week in Missouri shows justice moves too slowly for the state's youngest victims.

Brown points to the case of 15-year-old Ann Harrison.

"Michael Taylor was finally executed this week,” says Brown. “It's nearly 25 years that he sat on death row. She was abducted, raped and murdered when she was 15-years-old, 25 years ago."

Brown says things should be different for the man accused of kidnapping and murdering Hailey Owens, a crime that has caught national attention.

"I felt that we needed to do something to streamline or address this issue of folks dragging out appeals for years and years," says. Brown.

Brown modeled his bill on a Florida Law enacted in 2013.

"In Florida this legislation was called the Timely Justice Act,” says Brown.

The bill limits the amount of time that can pass from the date of the offenders last failed appeal to the execution.

Brown says this does not shortchange the defendant’s right to appeal.

"The person that has done the act is going to get his day in court,” says Brown. “All of his appeals he will get. Nothing is cut short. What we're doing is tightening up the time frame."

Brown says criminals need to know where the state stands on this issue and Hailey's family deserves swift justice.

"I want Hailey's mother and Hailey's family to know the State of Missouri stands with them and we grieve with them," says Brown.

Brown says he has considered calling this proposed legislation ‘Hailey's Law,’ but he also said he has no intention of contacting Hailey's family during their time of grieving.

Brown also says it may take several years to enact this type of legislation, but he will not back down from the challenge.

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