Today is the first day of the Hailey Owens’ murder trial for Craig Wood, a day for which many have waited. Wood is accused of abducting, assaulting, raping, and ultimately shooting Hailey on February 18, 2014. In today’s court proceedings, Wood’s attorney said they would stipulate that he did all those things. The prosecuting attorney pushes for the death penalty; Wood seeks life in prison. Hailey’s parents have asked for life in prison. The trial is expected to last two weeks, one week for the judgment and a second week for the sentencing.
As a community, how do we respond to this trial?
First, please pray for the family, police officers, witnesses, school teachers, and so many others who knew and loved ten-year-old Hailey. The next two weeks will be rough for all of them. As the family hears the gruesome details, as police officers revisit past memories, as witnesses tell their stories, and as the entire community remembers those hours and days in February 2014, many emotions will be revisited, raw, and real. Pray for them to sense God’s presence, to see the love the community has for them, and to trust the system of justice.
Pray for the jurors as they are forced to make Hailey’s story part of their story. They have a solemn responsibility to listen, evaluate, and make a judgment. Pray for them to have wisdom, sensitivity, and courage.
Pray for Judge Thomas Mountjoy as he presides over the trial. Pray that he will have wisdom as he directs the courtroom proceedings.
Pray for Craig Woods and his parents. Wood explained this past summer that he was high on meth at the time of the abduction. Pray that Wood would recognize his sins, repent, and seek the forgiveness of God, the family, and the community. Pray for Wood’s family as they have to hear the details as they are explained in court.
Pray for the community. Pray that we also would trust the system, that we would honor God in our attitudes toward all those involved, and that we would consider our own personal lives. Pray that we would balance our desire for justice with an awareness of the ugliness of sin in all our lives.
How can you get involved in the lives of people around you?
What can you do to encourage others?
How can you become a better citizen?
What can you do to serve your hurting neighbors better?
How can you warn others about the tragedy of meth use?
What can you do to help serve those in our community that are vulnerable?
How can you encourage our community heroes that deal with tragedies regularly?
As we consider the tragedy of Hailey’s death, we must look past ourselves to determine how we can make our community better. Can you give of your time, your expertise, your creativity, or your other acts of support for a local agency that helps the less fortunate? Can you give your money?
As this trial drags on, this provides each of us the opportunity to reflect. The days following Hailey’s death tens of thousands of people responded as one. From the memorial downtown to the porch lights, we coalesced as a community to make a statement against evil, wickedness, and hatred, and for good, righteousness, and love. Four years later, what has changed in us? Are you the doing anything to make our community better? Are you personally doing anything that will help the little Hailey’s in the world? Are you doing anything to help prevent childhood abduction, pornography, and other abuse?
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