Wood Trial Analysis: Death Penalty Remains a Possibility

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo — After being convicted of 1st degree murder on Thursday, Craig Wood’s sentencing trial will bein at 9:30 on Friday morning. 

Under Missouri Law, only 2 sentences are a possibility under a 1st degree murder conviction: The death penalty by lethal injection, or life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Woody joined KOLR10 News on Friday morning to give some valuable insight into this next phase of the trial. 

Question: This trial has been a fast-paced environment. Jurors deliberated for only an hour on their conviction, and the prosecution claimed that their witness testimony proceeded much quicker than they anticipated. 

What can we expect from this sentencing phase?

“From the State’s perspective, they are going to get their witnesses in, make their point, and then hand it over to the defense team. 

When the defense begins to present their argument, the court room will slow down a lot.

They are going to inundate the jury with specific information about Craig Wood. They are going to try and shift the focus away from Hailey Owens to Craig Wood. They are going to try and elicit some type of response from the jury on behalf of him.”

Question: There has been a lot of emotion in this case. How does emotion play a role in sentencing? 

“If the jury thought the guilt phase of the trial was emotional, just wait until the penalty phase. It is going to ramp up quite a bit, even from the State’s perspective. 

They are going to show these photographs about what they saw from the autopsy, as well as the folder containing the writings of Craig Wood. The jury is going to hear that again because the prosecution wants them to act upon that same emotion that they did in the guilt phase.”

Question: What constitutes the death penalty, and how will the defense try and argue their point?

“There are about 17 statutory aggravators that apply to the death penalty, and only about 2 of them apply here. 

There are also 7 statutory mitigators (in opposition of the death penalty) that apply. I think there are 3 that they will try to hit on: lack of past criminal history, whether he was under an extreme emotional disturbance, and whether he had the capacity to understand what was going on. 

They will also focus a lot on Craig Wood as a person. His family, his upbringing, and anything that can turn the attention to him.”

Question: The defense didn’t call any witnesses to the stand in the guilt phase, but have subpoenaed at least 1 witness for the sentencing phase. What other kinds of witnesses can we see take the stand?

“I would expect them to call forward some type of mental health expert to the stand, proving that he was under some type of distress at the time.

Also, don’t be shocked if Craig Wood takes the stand. He is going to want to try and get some sympathy for himself, if at all possible.

He will want to get up and show remorse to the jury because that is something they will want to see.”

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