Christopher l. "Chris" Collings (mug shot BCSO)

A mistrial was declared today for one of the men accused of raping and murdering 9 year-old Rowan Ford in November of 2007.

Barry County Prosecutor Johnnie Cox says Christopher Leroy Collings, 36, kidnapped the girl from her bedroom in Newton County and took her to his trailer in Barry County where he and Rowan's stepfather, David Spears, raped and killed the child.



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Rowan Ford was just 9 years-old when she was murdered

The Phelps County Circuit Clerk's Office called 200 potential jurors for the case, by Saturday only about 66 jurors were left and defense attorney's filed a motion for a mistrial. 
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Judge Mary Sheffield granted the mistrial because attorneys had used multiple strikes in picking the jury and there were not enough potential jurors left to meet legal requirmements.  Some of the potential jurors said they had already formed opinions and/or knew too much about the case.  Others said they would not be able to keep an open mind about the decision between life and death for Collings.

Collings case was moved to Phelps County on a change of venue - now the case will be moved again, according to online court records.

Collings trial was scheduled to begin on April 7th, however defense attorney's filed last minute motions that delayed the start of jury selection to this week.


David Spears (mug shot BCSO)

Judge Sheffield will probably make a decision on whether to import a jury from another county or reassign the case to another county distrist on May 3rd.

Both Collings and Spears are facing the death penalty for the little girls murder.

Spears case is scheduled to begin in August in Pulaski County.

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