Craig Wood was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder in the 2014 killing of 10-year-old Hailey Owens in the Ozarks.
He may be sentenced to death, the Springfield News-Leaders reports.
Wood’s attorney conceded that his client kidnapped and killed Hailey but said he acted impulsively when he grabbed the girl in broad daylight.
Hailey was walking along a Springfield street when Wood, 49, pulled her into his truck as witnesses looked on. Some witnesses ran on foot after him, and one even got into a vehicle to chase the truck but lost it.
Prosecutors said Wood raped Hailey before taking her to his basement and shooting her. Her body was later found in a plastic tub in the basement.
Wood was a paraprofessional at Pleasant View Middle School. He was a football coach and supervised students in the in-school suspension room.
Jurors deliberated for about an hour, the News-Leader reports.
The defense rested Wednesday without calling any witnesses. Wood did not testify on his behalf.
Testimony for the prosecution on Wednesday included evidence about the girl’s body being found in the basement of Wood’s home in February 2014, and an autopsy that found she had been shot and had injuries consistent with sexual abuse.
As news of Hailey’s slaying spread in her community, residents were shocked by the heinous crime. Her body was discovered inside two trash bags, which were inside a plastic storage tote.
“People can’t believe this would happen. It’s just the fact that she wasn’t far from her home, then instantly, poof, she’s gone,” Springfield resident Joe Bridges told The Star in February 2014.
Wood had apparently never married and had no children. He rarely socialized with neighbors.
Missouri court records indicate Wood pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance in 1990. He was also convicted in 2001 for the illegal taking of wildlife.
Wood’s father, Jim Wood of Ash Grove, Mo., told The Star in 2014 that he spoke with his son the night he was arrested but would not give details about their conversation.
“I can tell you it is just a tragedy,” Jim Wood said. “We’re stunned, for everybody who knows him.”
Hailey’s father, Markus Owens, told a Springfield television station shortly after the crime, “All I can say right now is I miss her and I love her.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.