(news-leader.com) - The man accused of kidnapping, raping and killing 10-year-old Hailey Owens is trying to get a judge to throw out evidence that appears to tie him to what prosecutors are calling handwritten stories about child rape and sodomy.
Prosecutors say one of the stories, allegedly found in the defendant's home, included the name "Hailey."
Prosecutors have previously filed a motion to force Craig Michael Wood, 46, to provide a handwriting sample in order to attempt to match it to the stories about sex with young girls, allegedly found in a dresser in Wood's home.
Additionally, officers used a search warrant to obtain a letter Wood wrote from jail, to be used for the same analysis.
Patrick Berrigan, a state-paid capital defense attorney representing Wood, filed a response last week saying the seizure of Wood's letter should be kept out of evidence because the seizure was improper, and that any handwriting comparison shouldn't be allowed because the science is flimsy.
"Questioned document examination is not science," Berrigan wrote. "It's is completely subjective. It does not utilize scientific principles, and, like many non-scientific forensic fields, it is arguably as much a self-perpetuating myth as a valid methodology."
He also argued the letter seized from Wood in jail should be thrown out because it was seized using a "post indictment warrant," of which the defense was not notified.
The handwriting samples are important to both sides because prosecutors want to link the stories to Wood to show that he targeted Hailey.
The stories, taken when officers searched Wood's Stanford Street home in February, detailed the rape and sodomy of a 13-year-old girl, according to search warrant returns. Prosecutors presented the stories as evidence in a preliminary hearing.
Judge Mark Powell allowed the stories as evidence, but Judge Dan Conklin, who is scheduled to preside over the case if it goes to trial, would have to decide if the stories are permissible.
Officials say Hailey was taken from her neighborhood on Feb. 18. Her body was found hours later wrapped in garbage bags in Wood's basement. A medical examiner said she died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. The examiner also said there was evidence of sexual assault.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Wood, who is charged with murder, kidnapping, rape, sodomy and armed criminal action.