Wheaton man accused of raping and murdering a 9-year-old Stella girl has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
On Dec. 21, Chris Collings, of Wheaton, waived his preliminary hearing rights.
Collings and David Wesley Spears, of Stella, have been formally charged with first degree murder, forcible rape and statutory rape in connection with the murder of Spears' stepdaughter Rowan Ford.
Ford was reported missing from her Stella home on Nov. 2. After a week-long search, Ford's body was discovered in a sink hole in McDonald County on Nov. 9.
Collings and Spears are being held without bond in the Barry County Jail. During their arraignment on Nov. 13, Judge Victor Head entered pleas of not guilty on the men's behalf because neither man was represented by an attorney.
In November, assistant public defender Michael C. King, of Carthage, filed an entry of appearance in Barry County Circuit Court to represent Spears. A preliminary hearing has not yet been scheduled for Spears.
Public defender Clate Jay Baker, of Monett, filed an entry of appearance in Barry County Circuit Court to represent Collings on Dec. 21. Collings will be arraigned in Circuit Court on Jan. 22, 2008.