Defense questions death sentence for girl's rapist, killer

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -

The attorney for a man convicted of abducting, raping and killing a 10-year-old Missouri girl says his death sentence should be overturned.

Jurors found 51-year-old Craig Wood guilty last year of first-degree murder for the February 2014 death of Hailey Owens in Springfield. His attorney told the Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday that the process used to impose the death sentence wasn't constitutional. The issue is that jurors couldn't decide whether to sentence Wood to death or life in prison without parole. That left the decision in the hands of the judge who oversaw Wood's trial.

Missouri and Indiana are the only states where a judge can impose a death sentence. Other states follow the federal procedure that a defendant is sentenced to life in prison if jurors are deadlocked.

The case prompted an Amber Alert in Kansas in February 2014.

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