Collings appeals death penalty

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Convicted killer Christopher Collings is appealing his death sentence for the murder of 9-year-old Rowan Ford.

In March, a jury found Collings guilty of capital murder and recommended the death penalty. The trial took place in Rolla on a change of venue.

Collings' attorneys filed an appeal of the death penalty with the Missouri Supreme Court on July 23. The appeal is automatic in capital punishments cases under Missouri state law.

Collings, 37, of Wheaton, was arrested in November of 2007 and charged with the rape and murder of Ford, who was the stepdaughter of Collings' friend, David Spears. Collings was accused of kidnapping Ford from her home in Stella and taking her back to his trailer in Wheaton where he raped her and then strangled her.

After a week-long search for the missing child, Ford's body was discovered in a cave near Powell in McDonald County.

Spears has also been charged with Ford's murder. He confessed to law enforcement authorities that he participated in the rape and murder of his stepdaughter. Collings has denied Spears' involvement.

Spears' trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 30 when a jury is selected in Clay County. Once a jury has been chosen, the trial will begin in Waynesville on Nov. 5.

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