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Christopher Collings is facing the death penalty


A jury has been seated for the capital murder trial of one of the men accused of raping and strangling nine year-old Rowan Ford in November of 2007.

Barry County prosecutor Johnnie Cox says the jury of seven women and five men (there are four alternates) for Christopher Collings' trial were sworn in about 6 this evening (03-09-12.) Opening statements will begin Monday with testimony slated to begin either late Monday or Tuesday.

The jury was picked in Platte County and will be sequestered in Phelps County, where the case was moved on a change of venue.  The jury had to be picked outside of southwest Missouri after a mistrial was declared last May when attorney's on both sides could not agree on a jury in Phelps County after both sides utilized multiple strikes, leaving not enough potential jurors to meet legal requirements.


Rowan Ford


The first witness expected to be called to the stand will be those who took the missing person's report on Rowan.  Then it is expected that Wheaton police chief Clint Clark, who was a friend of Collings, and whom Collings sought out and allegedly confessed to will be called.

Followed by former Barry County detective, and the current Sheriff of McDonald County, Rob Evenson.  Evenson is the law enforcer who interviewed and videotaped Collings alleged confession.

Cox says Collings, who is a friend of the girls stepfather, David Spears, kidnapped Rowan from her bedroom in Stella and took her back to his trailer in Barry County where he viciously raped the little girl. Court documents say that Speasr went to Collings trailer and took part in the rape and murder of his stepdaughter.



Barry County prosecutor Johnnie Cox


The trial was originally scheduled for a month, but jury selection took 2 weeks, and Judge Mary Sheffield has indicated that she is prepared to give attorney's up to a week longer than the projected end date of March 23rd, according to Cox.

Spears is scheduled to stand trial later this year.

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