What's next for Craig Wood's murder trial

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. Monday, jurors in Craig Wood's murder trial deadlocked on a decision between the death penalty and life in prison.

Along with that news, we mentioned Wood's defense team will get a hearing next month on their request for a new trial.

That upset some people unfamiliar with court procedure.

Word of a delay in Wood's sentencing caused outrage on social media.

The former Springfield teacher's aide and coach has already been convicted of first degree murder for killing 10 year-old Hailey Owens. Many people assumed that his sentencing would come almost as quickly as his conviction did.

We spoke with Hailey's mother's attorney, David Ransin about what happens next.

"The short, it's not over yet," he said.

He sat in on almost all of Wood's hearings.

"What is going on right now is the normal, procedural aspect of the case," he said.

Ransin listened to the facts and saw the evidence.

"The defense's job is to stretch this out as far as possible, which is perfectly legitimate. They're using the tools as any good trial lawyer would to do their job, to accomplish what they think is in the best interest of their client," he said.

Ransin explained that defense attorneys for just about every jury case files a request for a new trial.

"A motion for new trial is an opportunity for the trial judge to look back and say, you know what you're right. I ruled against you and that's a mistake. I let something in I shouldn't have and that made a difference," he said.

The request is part of the process to ensure that Wood got a fair trial.

Ransin said defense lawyers will list every time they've objected to something the prosecution said. This is the basis of their request. The judge will review the motion. This is the judge's chance to make any corrections. If it could have changed the outcome of the case then could a new trial could be possible.

If the judge says everything was done correctly, then the defense can take their request to the appellate court for review.

If the appellate judges finds a mistake, then a new trial could happen. If they don't then the judgment of first degree murder will stand.

"Hailey's life was taken but the government is here to take the life of Mr. Wood if that penalty is imposed. It's not just a black and white, life for a life, eye for an eye. We have to balance the constitutional, procedural rights against the constitutional, procedural rights of the public, the people, the government and Hailey of course and her family," he said.

The review is required to make sure Wood's constitutional rights have not been violated.

"There's no shortcuts to justice," said Ransin.

The deadline to file a motion for a new trial is December 1st.

The judge will make his decision on if there's a reason to request a new trial on January 11, 2018. If there isn't, the judge could sentence him on that date.

There are two other cases in Missouri where judges have given the death penalty after the jury deadlocked.
Those cases are currently under review.