Hailey Owens' accused killer Craig Wood wants a deal

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) -- Craig Wood is making a play for a plea deal.

Police arrested him nearly three years ago. He was charged with kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing 10 year-old Hailey Owens.

Last fall, Wood's attorney sent a letter to the Greene County Prosecutor.

It's only now, two days after his last court appearance that this information has been made public.

"To me, what this appears to be is a strategic effort to put pressure, it's a chess game, there's no question," says David Ransin.

Ransin represents Hailey Owens' family.

If Wood is convicted he could face the death penalty.

"The offer that was sent simply said he agrees to plead guilty to all five counts in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table," says Ransin.

He says Wood's attorney sent the letter saying the accused killer would plead guilty in exchange for life in prison without parole.

"If you're going to do it right and going to be thorough, there are no short cuts," explains Ransin.

There hasn't been a court ruling on the offer.

Ransin says, "There's been no expression of sorrow or remorse or anything. Frankly, three years later, if now, he says, 'oh, in order to cut a deal, I'm remorseful, I'm sorrowful, I regret doing what I did.' I think that's for everyone to judge giving the timing and circumstances."

Wood's trial is supposed to start this fall.

"It's a deep emotional matter. The families tired as they well should be. It's been three years. It's wearing on them," says Ransin.

He explains Hailey's family is hoping for the best resolution possible.

"The family wants to know that when they get closure, when it's wrapped up, it's not going to be brought up again six, eight, 12 months down the road with post-conviction appeals or something. They deserve to put it behind them once and for all," says Ransin.

Its then, Ransin says, they can begin to fully heal.

"There will be justice. It is slow coming. It's a method. It's a process. It's frustrating. It tries patience and it's very, very difficult. It will be a good thing if we can avoid trial," he says.

Under Missouri law, the prosecutor’s office cannot discuss any plea negotiations or offers.

Our calls to Wood's attorney have not been returned.

Craig Wood will be back in court this April.