Life or Death – Penalty Phase Begins in Wood Trial


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — State and defense attorneys in the Craig Wood trial opened up the second phase of Wood’s murder trial Friday morning at the Greene County courthouse, with an outline on how they hope to convince the jury to punish Wood for the murder of 10-year old Hailey Owens.

Greene county Prosecutor Dan Patterson claims that Craig Wood received text messages on the day of Hailey’s murder, joking about the Amber Alert issued when she was abducted.

Thursday, Craig Wood was found guilty of 1st degree murder for Hailey’s death following just an hour of deliberation by the jury. 
He now has two sentence possibilities: the death penalty… or life in prison without parole. 

Patterson was no more than 2 minutes into his opening statement in the penalty phase, before being stopped by an objection by the defense. 

From his opening statement, it’s the prosecution’s belief that Craig Wood committed a crime worthy of the death sentence. 

“Thank you for seeing through the excuses, this was not some drug fueled compulsion.  This was a deliberate man who thought about having sex with a child and then made it happen.  He made these choices.  He knows what he was doing, in the words of his friend and boss.  This was normal Craig,” Patterson.

Find complete and ongoing coverage of the trial here

He also gave the jury a road map to the witnesses the jury will hear for the state’s side. 

Their first witness this morning was the mother of Hailey’s best friend.    If you recall, the 10 year old was at her best friend’s house prior to being abducted on Lombard Street back in 2014. 

Patterson also emphasized words like torture, and how Wood brought her to his “dungeon”.

Patrick Berrigan, Craid Wood’s defense attorney plans on humanizing the man the jury convicted just yesterday. “Craig Wood is a bright guy but has lived a great deal of his life depressed medicating himself with alcohol and drugs.  He’s never achieved anything close to his full potential and this failure has only made his depression worse.”

The defense plans to call Craig Wood’s parents, Jim and Genie Wood to the stand. They claim that the entire family has suffered from medical depression for years.  Berrigan also showed the jurors a letter written by a parent that Craig Wood coached while a teacher and football coach. 

The defense didn’t call a single witness during the testimony phase of the trial, but it was obvious that they plan on calling many friends and family to the stand. 

Still, the jury has only 2 options for sentencing: life in prison without parole or death. 

Additional comment made by Dan Patterson Friday morning – a glimpse of witnesses to come:

“This was not some drug fueled compulsion.  He made these choices, he knows what he was doing.”
“You’re going to hear from family and friends of the defendant, you’re going to see that his friends and family sent him text messages about the Amber Alert.”
“You’re going to hear about Hailey, not a funeral or memorial, a unique ray of light that our community lost. What kind of child was she. You’ll hear from her loved ones. Her friends. The people whose lives are now torn apart. At the conclusion at this part of the trial we are going to ask you for justice for Hailey.”

 Additional statements made by Patrick Berrigan
“Good morning. I think I told you twice, we would respect your decision and we do.  But now is a different time. Now we get to tell you about the man you’ve already condemned to die in prision.”
“Now the issue is, how long do we punish Craig Wood before he dies.”
“Craig Wood is a bright guy, but he’s been depressed, he’s never achieved anything close to his full potential. And this failure has only made his depression worse.”
“Death is not required. Let him die on nature’s time and that will be sufficient.”

Collin Lingo is in the courtroom today and will have a review of the day’s testimony on KOLR10 News at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.

Find complete and ongoing coverage of the trial here

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