The lawyer for Craig Wood, who is on trial for kidnapping and murdering 10-year-old Hailey Owens in Springfield, Missouri, in 2014, hopes to prove his client killed her spontaneously to spare him the death penalty

The trial for the Missouri man accused of killing 10-year-old Hailey Owens in 2014 began Monday with his attorney admitting his client kidnapped, raped and murdered the girl – but arguing that it was not premeditated to try to spare him the death penalty, multiple outlets report.

Craig Michael Wood, 48, a former teacher’s aide and coach, is accused of murdering Owens after allegedly kidnapping her while she was walking home from a friend’s house on Feb. 18, 2014, according to the Springfield News-Leader.

Child Abducted
Craig Michael Wood
| Credit: The Springfield News-Leader/Nathan Papes/AP

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case, which means they have to prove he murdered the child with deliberation, reports.

The defense is seeking second-degree murder charges, which do not carry the death penalty.

On opening day in court Monday, Wood’s lawyer, Patrick Berrigan, argued that the murder was not premeditated, saying that he has a condition that gives him an unhealthy interest in girls that was worsened when he took drugs, reports.

“It’s methamphetamine that finally unleashes these long, suppressed, sexual urges,” he said in court, according to

Credit: The Springfield News-Leader/Dean Curtis/AP

He was arrested at his home in Springfield, Missouri, on Feb. 19, 2014, and charged with first-degree murder, local news station reports.

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Retired Springfield officer Allen Neal testified that he found her remains in Wood’s basement, local station KSPR reports.

He said the basement reeked of bleach as he searched for any trace of the girl. He found a blue tub during the search, and showed a picture of it to the jury.

“I opened the tub and I could see what appeared to be plastic bags,” he said, according to KSPR. “The outline and shape of the bags, as I got closer to it, I could tell that it was the outline of a small human body,” he says.

Prosecutors also played video of the first time the Springfield Police questioned Wood, who initially denied playing a role in her abduction.

“I have some parents who are shaken beyond what you can imagine,” Det. Kevin Shippley tells Wood in the video, per KSPR. “A mom that is beside herself, hysterical, can’t even control herself.”

The trial is expected to last two weeks.