GREENE COUNTY, Mo. The jury that convicted Craig Wood of first degree murder, after he kidnapped, raped, and killed 10 year-old Hailey Owens could not agree on whether he should be put to death or live the rest of his life in prison.
Now his fate will be up to a Greene County judge.
The jury deliberated for about four hours today.
They agreed on all of the aggravating factors, the reasons why the state wanted him to be put to death. They also agreed that none of the mitigating factors, the reasons why his life should be spared, outweighed them. They just couldn't agree on if he should live or die.
Greene County Judge Thomas Mountjoy read the jury's decision to the court.
"We the jury, having found the defendant, Craig Wood guilty of murder in the first degree of Hailey Owens are unable to decide or agree on the punishment," he said.
Attorneys for both sides did their best to sway their decision.
"They're going to tell you can't give mercy to somebody who didn't give mercy to his victim," said defense attorney, Pat Berrigan.
"For Hailey, life wasn't punishment. Life was hopes and dreams. "If Hailey could speak to you she'd say she wants to live and have that future. Well that's what the defendant wants too," said Greene County Prosecutor, Dan Patterson.
Wood's parents declined our request for reaction to the jury's decision. However, Owens' mother, Stacey Herman, had this to say after listening to more than a week of testimony.
"I'm thank for the hard work of the jurors and the judge. The prosecutors did an awesome job," she said.
Herman has attended just about every hearing and most of Wood's trial.
"I somewhat have closure, got to push on," she said.
Her attorney, David Ransin, said, "It's important that this has all been done in the honor and the memory of her daughter Hailey."
Ransin has guided her through all of this.
"All of this has been very difficult for three and a half years. She's looking forward to the end so that she can get on with her own life," he said.
Ransin will continue to prepare her for what's to come.
"She understands that this is just one more step in our long judicial process but it's necessary and she's being patient and asks everyone else to be patient as well," he said.
Wood's defense attorneys have until December 1st to file a request for a new trial. On January 11, 2018, the judge will make his decision on that.
During that hearing, attorneys for both sides will argue their cases for punishment.
The judge could sentence Wood then or take the arguments under advisement and schedule a sentencing hearing for a future date.