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SPRINGFIELD, MO (AP) – A Missouri judge says prosecutors don’t have to provide evidence before the preliminary hearing for a 46-year-old man accused of killing a 10-year-old Springfield girl.
 
Craig Michael Wood faces first-degree murder charges in the Feb. 18 death of Hailey Owens, who was killed after being abducted in her neighborhood. Wood, a middle-school football coach, attended the hearing Wednesday in Greene County court. Wood is being held without bond.
 
The Springfield News-Leader reports Judge Mark Powell on Wednesday overruled a defense motion to have the prosecution produce evidence before Wood’s preliminary hearing, which has been rescheduled for April 24.
 
The judge also said he would take under advisement an objection by Wood’s public defender to having television cameras in the courtroom for future hearings on the case.
 
Published in Local News
Missouri voters may be asked to amend the state Constitution to make prosecuting child sex offenders easier.

A 2007 Missouri Supreme Court ruling had banned prosecutors in child sex abuse cases from using "propensity evidence," which is often used to show a suspect has a proclivity to do the alleged crime. The ruling made Missouri the most restrictive state in the nation by banning such evidence as prior convictions.

Representative John McCaherty, a High Ridge Republican, filed a bill that would allow prosecutors to use prior convictions, along with findings by the state Children's Services Division indicating that sexual abuse of a child did occur, even if there were no charges filed.

The measure has already cleared the House and is now in the hands of the Senate.
Published in Local News

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