Missouri man sentenced to death in rape, murder of 10-year-old girl

A former middle-school football coach-and-four convicted of kidnapping and killing a 10 -year-old girl in Missouri has been sentenced to death.

Circuit Judge Thomas Mountjoy issued his ruling Thursday in the case of Craig Wood, 49, who was convicted in November for the February 2014 death of Hailey Owens.

Although Wood was convicted of first-degree slaying, the jury couldn’t agree on whether to sentence him to demise, or life in prison without parole, leaving the judge to choose.

Mountjoy previously denied motions from Wood’s attorneys that tried a new trial and called judge-imposed death sentences unconstitutional.

Hailey, a fourth-grader at the time, had been sick for a few days, so stayed at home from school, mother Stacey Herman told the Springfield News-Leader.

Wood then snatched her off a Springfield, Mo ., street in broad daylight in front of horrified witnesses, reports said.

Neighbors tried to rescue her, even chasing after the suspect and recording his license plate number.

Wood therafter took Hailey to his home, where he raped “childrens and” shooting her in the head, according to authorities. Her body was found in his basement, they said.

Prosecutors described Wood going to a store to buy bleach and a laundromat to clean his clothes.

Springfield residents and others reacted on social media after Wood’s death sentence, the News-Leader reported.

Some of the News-Leader’s readers were, however, opposed to the death penalty.

“It costs more to maintain a captive on death row than life in prison. Why? ” reader Ginger Williamson wrote to the newspaper. “Who do you think pays for all those appeals? We the taxpayers do.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report .

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