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Royal Oak, Pontiac

February 15, 2013

Convicted murderer sentenced to life without parole

Wood tells judge to stop preaching, winks as he exits courtroom

By Chris Jackett
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Alan C. Wood listens to family members of Nancy Dailey speak during his Feb. 15 sentencing at Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac.
Tonia M. Watson looks back at the gallery as defense attorney Michael McCarthy speaks to the judge during Watson’s Feb. 15 sentencing at Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac.
Nan Drinkard, Dailey's niece, speaks to Alan C. Wood prior to Wood’s sentencing for murdering Dailey in 2011.
 

Alan C. Wood showed no remorse as he was sentenced to life in prison, without parole, for murdering an 80-year-old Royal Oak woman in November 2011.

Wood, 49, was found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder by a unanimous jury Jan. 17. During his Feb. 15 sentencing in Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Colleen O’Brien’s courtroom, relatives of Wood’s victim, Nancy Dailey, made tearful statements, but his response was one that questioned both law enforcement and judicial actions while requesting his own release.

“I ask that the court throws out these charges because the warrant was never signed and time dated,” Wood said.

Wood argued that he was illegally transported from the city of his arrest in Canton to Royal Oak, as well as that his due process and right to a speedy trial were denied. He also said some of the evidence and the testimony of former lover and co-defendant Tonia M. Watson, 41, were questionable, given her history of mental illness.

O’Brien called Wood’s case “the worst” of all the murder trials she has heard over the years, at which point Wood interrupted and belted out, “Please get on with your sentence and stop with the preaching from the bench.” As he was escorted out of the courtroom moments later, he looked directly at Dailey’s family members and winked.

Many of those family members had been given a chance to speak prior to the sentence being read.

“Alan Wood, you murdered my beautiful cousin and good friend Nancy Dailey,” Leah Storto said. “You are an evil and ruthless and cold-blooded murderer. I don’t know what rock you crawled out from under, but you deserve to be put away for the rest of your life.”

Family members spoke of Dailey’s love for music, dancing, the Detroit Tigers and the spring season.

“If you had been loved the way you should have been loved, and God loves you today, none of us would be here today,” said Nan Drinkard, Dailey’s niece. “When you killed her, there was so much blood the carpet had to be cut out to clean it. The only thing we can do now is, although this may not be your first murder, we can make sure it’ll be your last.”

As Wood’s partner in crime, Watson was sentenced to 23-80 years in prison for second-degree murder after she pleaded guilty Dec. 21, 2012. Additional sentences for larceny in a building and use of Dailey’s stolen credit card will run concurrently and expire prior to the 23-year mark. Watson was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $45,400.

“I believe you could’ve done something to stop the crime or call someone,” O’Brien said of the Nov. 20, 2011, incident at Dailey’s house on Trafford in Royal Oak.

Unlike Wood, Watson’s expression showed sadness and remorse during her sentencing, where she was only able to utter one sentence as consolation.

“I’m just very sorry about the precious loss of Nancy Dailey,” Watson said.

Dailey’s family members had a mix of emotions as they addressed Watson.

“As much as I am glad you testified, I still hold you responsible for the murder of my wonderful cousin,” Storto said. “You, Tonia Watson, are much more than a dirty bird. Along with Alan Wood, you carried out the act of premeditated theft and premeditated murder.”

Although appreciative of Watson’s testimony against Wood, the family still held her partially responsible for Dailey’s death.

“I know that doing the right thing is not always easy and I appreciate you telling the truth,” Drinkard said. “She didn’t deserve to die like that. No one does. She looked forward to the first robin every spring and wrote about it in her journal. Now, she will never see another robin. And why, because you needed drugs?”

Wood and Watson, who were both parole absconders with lengthy criminal histories and drug habits, according to the testimony, had originally met Dailey while doing yard work for her. They returned a few days later to rob her, murdering her in the process, the jury found.

Dailey was found with her hands bound by a blue scarf, which video surveillance from a nearby fast food restaurant showed around Wood’s neck earlier on the day of the murder. Wood’s DNA was found both on the scarf and under Dailey’s fingernails. Her neck had been stabbed and slashed, and testimony from Watson also indicated that Wood stomped on her back and head while she was facedown on the ground.

“On the day she was arrested in November 2011, she immediately said she wanted to speak to police,” said Michael McCarthy, Watson’s defense attorney. “Without her testimony, the case against Mr. Wood wouldn’t be as strong.”

Neither Assistant Prosecutor Tricia Dare, McCarthy or Wood’s defense attorney, Elias Escobedo, debated any of the issues with the case or the sentencing guidelines, but Dare and Escobedo will meet with O’Brien for a hearing regarding what the amount of restitution owed by Wood will be.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Chris Jackett at cjackett@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1110.