Suspect In Girl's Abduction, Murder To Plead Not Guilty

By: The Associated Press, KYTV Email
By: The Associated Press, KYTV Email
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A public defender for the suspect accused of kidnapping and killing a 10-year-old Springfield, Missouri girl said at a hearing Friday that his client plans to plead not guilty.

Middle school substitute teacher, aide and football coach Craig Wood is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed criminal action in the shooting death of fourth-grader Hailey Owens.

Craig Wood

Police say Hailey was snatched off a neighborhood street Tuesday afternoon less than two blocks from her home as she walked back from her best friend's house. Her body was later found in Wood's basement.

Thousands are expected to attend a downtown candlelight vigil in her honor Saturday night.

Springfield Public School District Superintendent Norm Ridder released a statement saying the 45-year-old Wood has been employed by the district since 1998 as a paraprofessional and athletic coach at Pleasant View Middle School. Owens attended another school and the two apparently didn't know each other.

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