The man convicted of abducting and murdering a 10-year-old Springfield girl in 2014 is asking for an acquittal or a new trial.
The News-Leader reports attorneys for 49-year-old Craig Wood filed a motion earlier this month contending he did not get a fair trial in the high profile case in which he was accused of raping and murdering Hailey Owens.
A jury became deadlocked in the sentencing phase after convicting Wood of first degree murder. Judge Thomas Mountjoy was scheduled to determine January 11th if Wood will receive the death penalty or life in prison, but will now issue a decision on the motion for a new trial.
The News-Leader reports Wood’s attorneys, in their 42-page motion, say Wood “did not get a fair trial because several jurors were strongly in favor of the death penalty, the judge allowed too much evidence into the trial, the shutter sound from a news camera was distracting and witnesses played up their emotions for the TV cameras in the courtroom”.
The motion said errors in jury selection and courtroom procedure prevented Wood from getting a fair trial.
The case opened in late October with a lawyer for Wood seeking a second-degree murder conviction after admitting that Wood murdered Owens. Proceedings that were supposed to take weeks wrapped up in four days with a first-degree murder conviction.
The jury then became deadlocked in the sentencing phase. The jury foreman told the News-Leader that 10-people voted for death and two jurors chose life.
The killing of Hailey Owens triggered calls for improvements to the emergency response system, when after local police responded to a child abduction call, there was a two-hour delay before an Amber Alert was issued statewide.
A bill known as Hailey’s Law was introduced in the state legislature this year. The measure, which was intended to shore up emergency response, stalled in the late going of the General Assembly in May.
The legislation was pre-filed for the upcoming session, which begins January 3rd