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

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in Platte County in the capital murder trial of  a man accused of raping and killing nine year-old Rowan Ford in November of 2007.  After the jury is selected, they will be sequestered and imported to Phelps County, where the trial was moved on a change of venue.
A mistrial was declared last May after attorney's on both sides could not agree on a jury in Phelps County after both sides had used mulitple strikes, leaving not enough potential jurors to meet legal requirmements.

many of those called saying they were familiar with the case due to widespread media coverage. 
Judge Mary Sheffield granted a motion that potential jurors should be picked from outside southwest Missouri.
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Chris Collings leaving court last year (courtesy Ozarksfirst.com)
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In December, Judge Sheffield agreed to take all the motions and everything having to do with the case off of online court records so potential jurors cannot access them.  However, there are hundreds of stories detailing the alleged crime online.  The security on online court records will be changed once a jury is selected and they are sequestered.

Barry County prosecutor Johnnie Cox says Christopher Leroy Collings, 35, kidnapped Rowan from her bedroom in Stella 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
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Spears told investigators that when he left his home on November 3, 2007, the little girl was asleep in her bed. Spears' mother, who was "babysitting" the little girl, told authorities she didn't check on Rowan at all during the seven hours she was at the house.

David Spears (mug shot BCSO)


Several days after Rowan went missing her body was found in a sinkhole in rural McDonald County by a sheriff's deputy who followed a hunch on his way to work. Before the little girl's body was found, Spears tearfully appealed for the return of his stepdaughter to several news outlets.

In the probable cause statements filed against Spears and Collings, each of them claimed responsibility for Rowan Fords murder. One of them said that the little girl was killed inside of Collings trailer --the other said Ford was tied to a fence that held goats outside the trailer and murdered there.

Collings trailer where Rowan Ford was allegedly murdered

In the nearly four and a half years since Ford's murder there have been numerous motion hearings and changes of venue for each of the suspected killers.

Collings underwent a mental evaluation in 2010 and lawyers for both men say their clients rights were violated when private phone calls between them and their clients were taped while they were being held in the Barry County jail. Lawyers also wanted taped confessions from the men thrown out.

Cox says he it will take at least a week to seat a jury and believes the trial could take up to a month to complete.

Jury selection for Spears' trial is scheduled to be held in November with his case to be heard in Pulaski County.

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