Craig Wood will be put to death for the 2014 abduction and murder of Hailey Owens, Judge Thomas Mountjoy decided on Thursday.
Mountjoy had the option of sentencing Wood, who was convicted of first-degree murder back in November, to either the death penalty or life in prison without parole after jurors failed to come to a unanimous decision on sentencing.
Prior to the sentencing, Woods’s defense attorneys filed two motions, one asking for a new trial and one calling judge-imposed death sentences unconstitutional. However, the judge denied both motions and associated Owen’s death with a loss of innocence in her life and of her Springfield, Missouri community.
“It is an exceptional case, an extreme case, I think, in all regards,” he said, with Prosecutor Dan Patterson adding, “It is true that the death penalty should be reserved for the worst of the worst. This is that case.”
Woods’s lawyer Patrick Berrigan argued that a unanimous decision by a jury should determine his client’s sentence, saying, “Life in this country is a precious commodity, precious. It should take 12 people to all agree to deprive someone of life.”
However, Judge Mountjoy ultimately made the call to sentence Woods to death for his heinous crime.
Woods abducted Owens, who was just ten years old at the time, by yanking her into his truck as she walked down a street in her town. He then took her to his home about 10 minutes away where he bound her, raped her and shot her in the head. Her body was located hours later wrapped in garbage bags and sealed in a plastic storage container in Woods’s basement.