Ex-coach given death penalty for kidnapping and killing child.

 

She was a beautiful, brown-eyed, 10-year-old from Springfield, MO. Hailey Owens was walking home from a friends house in the 3200 block of W. Lombard St. It wasn’t a long way, nor was it unusual for the child to traverse the area. On February 18, 2014, neighbors watched in horror as she was snatched off the street and tosed into a pickup truck. The male witness jumped in his vehicle and tried to chase the truck, while the woman wrote down the lisence number and made a frantic call to 911. Unfortunately, the heavy traffic afforded the kidnapper an easy escape.

Police arrived on the scene just before 5 pm to take witness statements. The statewide Amber Alert was issued by 7 pm. By 8:30 pm the truck was located at the home of Craig Wood.

Police arrested Wood and began searching for Hailey hoping to find her alive. After all, it had only been four hours since she was snatched. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

Officers noticed a strong bleach smell as they entered the basement of Woods’ home. Later, Hailey’s body was found stuffed in a plastic tub. She had been raped and shot in the back of the head.

Anger erupted across the Ozarks and quickly spread nationwide. How could an ex-coach rape and murder a tiny 77lb girl?

Wood, 45 was a former employee of the Springfield school system. He worked as a teacher’s aide and a football coach for sixteen years. Officers found child pornography including pictures of four young female students from the school where he had worked.

A candlelight vigil was organized on February 23rd. 10,000 people marched from Commercial St. to the Jefferson Ave. footbridge. The bridge was lit up with purple lights. Purple was Hailey’s favorite color.

See more:

https://youtu.be/bZyFGOP2dl8Hailey’s Vigil

The murder trial of Craig Wood

The trial began on October 30, 2017. Wood claimed his Meth binge caused him to kill Hailey Owens. He was convicted of 1st degree murder on November’s 4th. Defense attorneys argued that the lack of premeditation should spare Woods from the death penalty. Much to the public’s surprise, the jury couldn’t decide on the death penalty.

Defense attorneys quickly filed a motion requesting a new trial citing errors by the judge.

While the public went on with their holiday celebrations, the family of Hailey Owens were forced to wait on justice. The ruling wouldn’t come until after the new year.

January 11, 2018:

Judge Thomas Mountjoy denied Craig Wood’s appeal for a new trial. Later the same day he sentenced Wood to death by lethal injection.

Hailey’s Law:

Hailey’s parents are working hard to get “Hailey’s Law” passed. If passed, it will help streamline the Amber Alert system in hopes of saving lives. A 2-hour window elapsed between Haily’s abduction and the Amber Alert. Could those 120 minutes have saved Hailey? We will never know, but if it saves one child in the future then I say pass it. Get it on the books.

This case took an odd turn when Craig Woods’ family joined Hailey’s family in trying to push through Hailey’s Law.

Synova’s note:

There are many photos available of Craig Woods online, but I refuse to plaster his sorry face on my blog. If you want to see him then you can google it.

Hailey’s Facebook Memorial:

https://www.facebook.com/HaileyOwensInfo/

3rd Time’s the Charm?

 

The 3rd Time’s the Charm

 

One would think after being suspected of a third murder that a man would be imprisoned for life. This would likely be the case if the alleged murderer wasn’t the multi-millionaire Robert Durst. It would seem this eccentric real estate heir can get away with anything including, but not limited to murder, drug possession, felony fire arms possession, dismemberment of a human body, theft, and even urinating on a counter in a public business. Yes, you read that correctly.

Robert Durst the 73-year-old New York native has been accused of all these things, but somehow was acquitted of murdering and dismembering his neighbor in Galveston, Texas. When telling a story, it usually best to start at the beginning, but in Durst’s case this would difficult since the story has been ongoing for over thirty years. We could start when Robert was a seven-year-old boy and was allegedly led to a window where he witnessed his mother on the roof about to commit suicide. Family members later denied this statement, but in reality, the only two people who know the truth would be Robert and his now deceased father.

This may have been his beginning, but it would lead to much more. In 1982, Durst’s first wife Kathie disappeared. Somehow after only a few months of investigation the case went cold and seemed to be destined to stay that way. During this time, Robert’s good friend Susan Berman fed stories to the media and helped shield Robert. This tactic worked for 17 years until the case was reopened.

Authorities were about to interview Berman, but just days before this could happen she was found murdered execution style in her California home in 2000. If that wasn’t suspicious enough a note was mailed to the police department that was presumably from the murderer. The likely suspect would be Robert Durst, but there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him with anything. To make matters worse the police couldn’t find a way to place him in Southern California at all. So, the case teetered upon the brink of becoming a cold case.

All of this and Robert Durst continues his strange lifestyle of a traveling nomad worth millions. This would have been the end of the tale if Robert Durst hadn’t been arrested in Galveston, Texas under the suspicion of murder, and not murdering his wife or his friend either. He was arrested for murdering his neighbor a Mr. Morris Black. Oh, and yes…dismembering his body and throwing it into the ocean.

For sake of space, I will cut this story short. He went to trial and somehow convinced a jury that he had been falsely accused of his wife’s disappearance in New York and he was scared. So, he hid out in Galveston dressed as a woman. The Big Bad New York District Attorney had it out for the poor little rich boy and he was afraid. So, when Black attacked him, he shot the man in self-defense and then panicked and cut up the body. Somehow the jury believed this enough to cast “a shadow of a doubt” upon the case and it was enough to acquit the millionaire.

He was a free man and any normal person would have laid low. He had money. He could travel. He could do anything…except make a documentary. This is what he chose to do with the HBO series “The Jinx.” Of course, the producers did a little sleuthing of their own and found many devastating clues pointing to Robert himself as the murderer. Then when the show ended with an unexpected confession it seemed Durst had sealed his fate.

Unknown to the public, the police and the FBI had been investigating Durst from the beginning, and with the release of the finale they feared Durst would skip the country. Before this could happen, he was arrested in New Orleans and that’s where this tale continues.

Allegedly the theory is Robert gets rid of his wife then has his friend help him shut down the media circus. Life continues until the case is reopened. He runs and hides out in Texas (dressed as a mute old lady). Then Berman is killed before she can tell the story. All of this would probably have been unsolved if the “Old Granny” hadn’t killed her neighbor and stirred up a hornet’s nest. This even wouldn’t have taken him down if “The Jinx” hadn’t been aired on HBO.

Now Robert Durst sits in jail awaiting extradition from New Orleans to California. There the legal circus will continue. The question is…will the third time be the charm? Will Robert Durst be held accountable? Or will he play the poor pitiful me card again? From pretrial photos, I can see he is already trying that route. He has lost twenty pounds, shaved his head to expose scars from brain surgery. One photo even shows him in a neck brace.  Will all of this gain the jury’s sympathy or will he be found guilty? Who knows? We must wait and find out. I’ll keep you posted as it happens.

UPDATE: The Washington Post reported on May 3, 2017 that the family of Robert Durst’s first wife has filed a lawsuit against Durst claiming that his second wife helped cover up the murder of his first wife. We will have to wait and see how the court rules on this lawsuit, but I will keep you posted as the plot thickens around Robert Durst.

Online Sources:

New York Post: http://nypost.com/tag/robert-durst/

NBC News: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/robert-durst

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Durst

New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/16/nyregion/robert-durst-subject-of-hbo-documentary-on-unsolved-killings-is-arrested.html?_r=0

HBO: http://www.hbo.com/the-jinx-the-life-and-deaths-of-robert-durst

Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/suit-robert-dursts-2nd-wife-helped-hide-killing-of-his-1st/2017/05/03/4152e708-304f-11e7-a335-fa0ae1940305_story.html?utm_term=.2d8e6e460784