SPRINGFIELD, Mo — Both the prosecution and defense rested their case in the murder trial of Craig Wood yesterday. Closing arguments are scheduled to take place at the Greene County Courthouse this morning at 9am.
Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Woody joined KOLR10 News on Thursday morning to give some valuable insight into the remainder of the trial.
Question: After the prosecution rested their case against Craig Wood, the defense had the opportunity to call forward their own set of witnesses. Instead, the defense chose not to call forward witness testimony: sending the trial into closing arguments.
Was this an unexpected move from defense council?
“At 1st, it sounds a little surprising. A lot of people expected them to place a lot of witnesses on the stand. But in this situation, you have to think about the witnesses that would confirm their theory.
In this case, their theory was that Craig Wood did not deliberate prior to committing the homicide. There’s really not a witness that could advance that theory.”
Question: Does this open the door for a possible appear after the sentencing phase of this trial?
“If Craig Wood gets the death penalty, there will be a decade of appeals no matter what. Even if he is convicted of 1st degree murder, he will still most likely appeal.
What you’re appealing to would be ineffective assistance of counsel. If his attorney’s had a reasonable trial strategy to do what they did, by not calling any witnesses, then that doesn’t constitute ineffective assistance of counsel.
Craig Wood has 2 very good lawyers. I know both of them, and I know he is getting credible counsel.”
Question: The defense has placed a lot of their effort not on the guilt phase of the trial, but on the sentencing phase. Closing arguments are scheduled for today. What can you expect from both sides?
“The defense is going to point strongly at ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. They are going to try and ask whether the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Craig Wood committed 1st degree murder.
They didn’t call any witnesses, so they are going to point out the State’s evidence to try and prove deliberation.”
Question: Once a verdict is read, what happens next? How is the sentencing phase initiated?
“Once closing arguments are finished, the jury will be read instructions, and then the jury will deliberate for as long as needed.
If there is some disagreement within the jury on whether or not Craig Wood deliberated on this crime, they could be out for a while.
When they come back with a verdict, they will move into the penalty phase.
My expectation is that they would most likely begin that Monday morning. If Craig Wood is convicted of 1st degree murder and the death penalty is on the table, I expect the sentencing phase to go through all next week.”