Craig Michael Wood’s conduct likely precludes insanity defense

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Good morning:

Actions speak louder than words.

Despite his claim of having suffered 40 to 50 blackouts, Craig Michael Wood probably cannot successfully claim insanity.

Insanity is a legal definition, not a medical or psychological definition. You won’t find it in the DSM.

The insanity defense focuses on a defendant’s mental state and requires him to admit committing the acts he is accused of committing.

Section 552.030 (1) of the Missouri Revised Statutes states:

A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if, at the time of such conduct, as a result of mental disease or defect such person was incapable of knowing and appreciating the nature, quality, or wrongfulness of such person’s conduct.

Contrary to the fearful, delusional and fact-free claims of the right-wing-hate-machine, the defense is rarely successful because even so-called crazy and delusional people usually attempt to conceal the crime they committed and/or deny that they committed it.

Their actions speak louder than their words because their behavior demonstrates that they knew they were doing something wrong even if, for example, they thought God commanded them to do it.

Wood’s behavior would not likely satisfy the insanity defense because the circumstantial evidence of his premeditated intent and knowledge that he was committing crimes is so overwhelming as to leave no doubt in a reasonable mind that he was in full command of his faculties, if not his urge to rape and kill a child.

Even though Mr. Wood is unlikely to prevail on a claim of insanity, a claim of impaired mental functioning might still be available to use in mitigation.

One of the first tasks for defense counsel will be to put together a mitigation team with a lawyer and mitigation investigator knowledgeable about mental disorders and the best forensic experts available to test Mr. Wood’s brain functioning and diagnose his condition.

They will be looking for what death-penalty lawyers refer to as “a hole in the brain,” meaning an organic brain disorder or injury (as opposed to a personality disorder) that inhibits his ability to function normally and causes him to act out in a violent, unpredictable and uncontrollable manner.

It’s difficult for a juror to sentence a defendant to death for behavior he cannot control, even if he knows that his behavior is wrong and violates the law.

The problem for Mr. Wood and his defense team is that the Hailey Owens kidnapping and murder shows someone who appears to have planned what he did knowing that it was wrong and illegal. He carried out his plan during a period of approximately 3.5 hours, including an attempt to eliminate evidence and evade capture by executing his victim, cleaning up the crime scene and disposing of her body before the police arrived.

And then there is the child pornography and God only knows what may be recorded on his videos and dvds.

Difficult to imagine that he did not intend to do everything he did to Hailey Owens before he saw her walking home and kidnapped her.

I do not see any evidence of involuntary or unconscious behavior, such as one might expect to see if he has a hole in the brain.

Finally, when confronted by police when he arrived home, he tossed the roll of duct tape that he was carrying into the bed of his pickup truck.

That act suggests that he knew why they were there and he did not want them to notice or question him about the duct tape and what he intended to do with it.

Unfortunately for Mr. Wood and his defense team, his conduct and state of mind do not appear to mitigate what he did. Instead, they appear to aggravate it.

We will have to wait and see how this case works out.

29 Responses to Craig Michael Wood’s conduct likely precludes insanity defense

  1. Two sides to a story says:

    In the broadest sense, I think anyone who commits a heinous crime is at least temporarily insane. of if you define insanity as a state of emotional and mental imbalance. However, I doubt that very many people are ever insane or out of control to the point in which they don’t recall making a choice to perform an act. While some mentally ill people aren’t aware that there’s anything wrong with them, it doesn’t mean they’re not aware of making inappropriate choices. Even very severely ill people such as those with personality splits and delusions, there is a portion of consciousness in control and making choices.

    • Malisha says:

      But insanity is a defined term. The courts always speak about whether a criminal KNEW what he was doing was “wrong.” Wrong for whom? What we see on the part of a lot of criminals is that THEY have a particular “special” point of view in which it is “right” to — as a commenter on the Jonathan Turley blog insisted was “right” — “shoot first and ask questions later” if they saw a “punk” in their neighborhood. Are they insane to believe that it is “right” for them to do that? Not if you judge “insanity” to be a failure to conform one’s conduct to any kind of social “norm” — because obviously it is normal in Florida to do just that! So who’s crazy? A guy who kills a kid because he thinks the kid “looks like he’s up to no good” or a guy who naturally expects his government to forbid that behavior and then finds out he was wrong?

  2. bettykath says:

    Just watched a videoed experiment. White young man obviously jimmying a car lock for 30 minutes, yes, thirty minutes. No one cares, not even the cop that drove by. Black man does the same. Within 2 minutes, yes, two minutes, a cop is there wanting to see his focking hands away from the car. Man says the car is his. Man is handcuffed. Three other cops join the first.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Yep. So much for post-racial anything. Good argument for state courts addressing racism in cases that clearly have a racial element.

  3. So, I mean, I am not real big into gun control or anything, but on the same day that the Hailey Owens vigil is being planned- the girl who was shot in the head by a man who apparently had sixteen guns to choose from- FOX publishes this editorial in the headlines:

    Opinion: Media cherry picks Missouri gun data to make misleading case for more control
    By John LottPublished February 21, 2014FoxNews.com
    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/02/21/media-cherry-picks-missouri-gun-data-to-make-misleading-case-for-more-control/

    Stay classy, FOX!

  4. colin black says:

    Malisha says:

    February 23, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    No he’s among the ten smartest people I know! He just happens to believe that stupidity can be bottomless; I believe that it can be “stupid as a fox” which I sometimes accidentally type as “stupid as a fix
    @

    Sir Isaac Newton was a bona fide genious .
    An would study In his rooms cant remember if it was Cambrige or Oxford.
    But it was late In his career and he had tenure as a respected published Proffesor at the collage.

    He had two man servants to attend to his welfare an a couple of volunteer students to take notes ect as he spoke.

    In the winter it would get very cold an the heating was provided by a coal burning brazier wich was not fixed in a fire place but could be moved by placing to metal poles either side.

    If he grew to warm Isaac Newton would summon his man servants an tell them to move the heavy burning brazier a foot or so back.
    B T Y The reason it didn’t heed a chimney was because they had discovered smokeless coal an charcoal by the 1700s

    Anyway I digress.

    One winter evening one of his students having witnessed his elderly man sevants struggle to move the heavy brazier without dropping red hot coals on the floor.

    Summoned up the courage to enquire why if the heat bothered him .Why not simply move his chair further away from the fire.

    Newton looked astonished and admitted the thought had never ocoured to him.

  5. Malisha says:

    I’m really interested in what this Craig Michael Wood’s history is in terms of prior close relationships with other people. Sure, people say he was nice and so forth and the kids at the school liked him, but those relationships are relatively fleeting and well defined by the context (he coaches, he teaches, etc.). What did anybody really know about him? I’m very curious about that.

  6. Michael Dunn and open season on black teenagers: The onslaught of white murder

    Professor Angela Ards said of this decision, “The chilling social logic of this illogical legal verdict is that Dunn has been found guilty of missing the other black boys in the car, of failing to kill them all.”

    • Malisha says:

      Here’s my question about the abduction/murder time-line:

      How come no immediate search warrant for all homes and vehicles listed for the actual OWNER of the truck that had that license plate? I would have thought that search could have begun within minutes!

      Why was the actual owner of the vehicle not immediately taken into custody as a possible material witness?

      • The actual owner is Craig Wood’s father. The police contacted him. He was too old to be the kidnapper and he told them that he had given his son the pickup truck. He also gave them Craig’s address. A quick check with the DMV would have provided a photograph, which generally matched the description provided by the witnesses to the kidnapping. With that information they were able to eliminate the father and focus on the son.

        We don’t know anything about the circumstances of the contact with the father, but they had probably already obtained a DMV photo of him based on the plate number and were thinking of him as a potential witness and/or victim of a vehicle theft rather than the perpetrator they were looking for.

        • Malisha says:

          I agree they would have had no reason to suspect the father, just that I would presume a search of his house and other vehicles might have led to clues about where to look and what to do to find the child. ALSO they might have gotten a faster search warrant for Craig Wood’s house if they had more info. from the father, mightn’t they? It would seem that immediate access to Craig Wood’s house would have been in order!

          • Unfortunately, the side trip to the father’s house by the cops may have given him enough time to do whatever he did to her and to kill her.

            Cannot say that definitively without reviewing the discovery, including the autopsy report and the basis for the estimated time of death, and figuring out distances and travel times using google maps.

            Don’t know if we will ever get a chance to see the discovery in this case.

          • I think searching the father’s house and vehicles probably would have delayed the cops even longer and they might have arrived after he had already left his house with her body.

        • concernedczen says:

          Had a horrible thought…that the dad let the son know the police were after him and so he decided to kill the girl and quickly dispose of her body after receiving a call from his dad.

  7. OT:

    Podcast: Michael Dunn Trial, Colorblind Prosecutions & a System That Permits Racist Violence

    http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/02/23/podcast-michael-dunn-trial-colorblind-prosecutions-a-system-that-permits-racist-violence/
    Kevin Gosztola, Rania Khalek

  8. I had a sicko tell me the other day he was justified in shooting her if she tried to escape. Does he thunk she was being held in a POW camp ?? Yep, those nutZZ and their guns.

    My argument that she was illegally abducted and held captive made on difference to him because Hailey was a minor. So kidnapped kids can’t fight back and God forbid what we teach them to do everything to escape is criminal according to this Republican.

    I think I won’t piss this guy off so i can keep my finger on the pulse of the Zidiot Nation. I originally thought this wacko thought Hailey was black, but I worked it in and he knew she was a white girl.

    I guess to someone with burned out tubes and bad wiring, anyone who shoots anyone who doesn’t have a gun is automatically justified. Would have messed up his whole year if she pulled out a derringer and shot him and escaped.

    • That’s fucked up. Was he drunk or something, when he said this?

    • Malisha says:

      Racerro, that’s hilarious! Keep feeding that “thinker” and let us know what he comes up with!

      BTW “he was justified in shooting her if she tried to escape” is based on the same mindset that makes it OK to kill disobedient wives or uppity African Americans or etc etc — they’re trying to deny you (the armed right-guy) your absolute rights to control their behavior.

      These people are always in a war. It is their own war but they have war rules rather than conduct rules. If they feel threatened they may kill the enemy. If they were wrong about who was the enemy, oh well, all’s fair in love and war. If they’re on a mission they can kill whoever gets in the way of the mission. (In the case of the kidnapped child, apparently this guy believes the mission was the kidnapper doing whatever he wanted to the child.)

      But the mere fact that a “normal” person would dare to say such a thing in the case of a kidnapped cute 10-year-old (yes, cute DOES COUNT) is a sign that our country is buying this insane idea, giving the punk permission to open his mouth and say such a thing.

      The Fogen case began to erode our society’s most basic rules of conduct; the FoDungen case delivered another horrible “hit” and now, people are opening their mouths to say sh1t like that and not expecting to be beaten unconscious for it. Bad sign.

    • Reminds me of Representative Sam Moore, a Republican member of the Georgia legislature, who introduced a bill that would permit convicted sex offenders to go anywhere they like, including schools, church youth functions, parks and playgrounds. He claims that the risk of recidivism is outweighed by the increase in freedom.

      I assume he’s a pedophile because it’s otherwise incomprehensible that anyone could be so densely stupid.

      • Malisha says:

        I dunno, professor. The difference between genius and stupidity is that whereas there are limits to genius, there are NO LIMITS to stupidity.

        A friend of mine (a very intelligent man with dual degree in law and economics from Duke) argues with me all the time about the stupidity factor. I insist that no judge could be as stupid as some of them appear to be, and that their inferential illiteracy is NOT stupidity but evil and willfulness; he claims that I misunderstand stupidity because I don’t have enough of it.

        • bettykath says:

          “I misunderstand stupidity because I don’t have enough of it.”

          lol. Well, you certainly don’t have it, but I do think he’s got fairly good dose of it. Just b/c someone can get degrees it doesn’t mean they don’t have a fair share of stupidity.

          • Malisha says:

            No he’s among the ten smartest people I know! He just happens to believe that stupidity can be bottomless; I believe that it can be “stupid as a fox” which I sometimes accidentally type as “stupid as a fix.”

        • I often ask myself if it’s possible for someone to be so stupid as to believe or do (fill in the blank) or did they do so deliberately with malice aforethought believing they could get away with it because they had done so in the past?

          I still do not know the answer.

        • Two sides to a story says:

          I think your friend might be right. I’ve known some pretty stupid people and there’s no limit to their stupidity.

    • looneydoone says:

      Here’s another jaw dropping WTF (but then again, it’s floriduh)
      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/23/judge-orders-guns-returned-to-blind-fl-man-who-stood-his-ground-against-drinking-buddy

      Seminole County case…this guy has a history of violence and previously discharged his weapon 15 times in an attempt at killing another man…

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