The trial of Craig Wood opened yesterday in Springfield with his lawyer admitting that Wood murdered 10-year-old Hailey Owens in 2014.

Hailey Owens

“He did kidnap, rape, sodomize and murder Hailey Owen,” said Defense Attorney Patrick Berrigan.  Berrigan told the jury during opening statements that Wood committed the crimes.  He said that now it’s in the jury’s hands to decide whether or not it was a premeditated murder or one without deliberation.

The proceedings were expected to last up to three weeks.  In the first two weeks the jury was to decide guilt, while the last week was set aside for sentencing if Wood was found guilty.

Berrigan claimed there is substantial evidence of the lack of planning and preparation.  He said Wood has an unhealthy interest in teen girls, a condition doctors call “paraphilic disorder”, which Berrigan said was triggered by drugs.

“It’s methamphetamine that finally unleashes these long suppressed, sexual urges.”

The prosecution is asking for a first-degree murder conviction, which requires a determination the act was premeditated, and carries a possible death sentence.  The defense is asking for second-degree murder charges.

The jury also heard testimony on the first day of the trial from Michelle Edwards, who called 911 immediately after seeing Wood drive off with Hailey. She said the abduction occurred directly in front of her house.

In addition, the court heard from several officers who worked the case three years ago.  Retired Springfield officer Allen Neal described discovering Hailey’s body in plastic tubs in Wood’s basement.

“I opened the tub, and I could see what appeared to be black plastic bags,” said Neal.  “The outline of the shape of the bags as I walked closer to it, I could tell was the outline of a small human body.”

Reporter Jennifer Abreu of Missourinet media partner KOLR provided the content of this story