Hearings reset for accused murderers

Thursday, May 22, 2008

David Spears and Christopher Collings did not make court appearances as expected on Tuesday. Instead, their attorneys set their cases for reappearance in Barry County Circuit Court on July 22 at 1 p.m.

The two men face the death penalty for allegedly raping and murdering 9-year-old Rowan Ford, of Stella. The little girl's mother, Colleen Spears, was in court on Tuesday along with members of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) and several television news crews.

Attorneys for both men said they needed additional time to review their clients' cases in light of the fact that Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox filed notices of intent to seek the death penalty only two weeks ago. Spears and Collings have both been charged with first degree murder, forcible rape and statutory rape.

Now that the death penalty is being sought, Collings and Spears will be represented by attorneys with the Missouri State Public Defenders Office. Local public defenders Clate Baker and Michael King announced their intention to withdraw as attorneys for Collings and Spears.

Cox will be assisted in the prosecution of the case by Elizabeth Bock, assistant attorney general for the state of Missouri.

Spears and Collings are being held in the Barry County Jail without bond. The men both confessed to raping and killing Rowan Ford, and have been behind bars since their arrests on Nov. 9, 2007.

The crime occurred on Nov. 2, 2007, at Collings' trailer in Wheaton. Ford's body was discovered in a sinkhole near Powell after southwest Missouri law enforcement officials spent a week searching for the missing girl.

At the time of Rowan Ford's murder, Spears was married to Colleen Spears. She has since divorced her husband.

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