Football coach to plead not guilty in girl’s death

Craig Michael Wood

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) – A Springfield middle-school football coach plans to plead not guilty in the kidnapping and shooting death of a 10-year-old girl.

A public defender for 45-year-old Craig Michael Wood said that his client plans to contest the charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed criminal action in the death of fourth-grader Hailey Owens.

Wood made his first court appearance Friday morning, appearing by video from the Greene County Jail, where he is being held without bond. He spoke only briefly to answer several questions from the judge. Hailey’s parents, older brother and several family members also attended.

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 found in Wood’s basement.

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