Christopher Leroy Collings has been found guilty of first-degree murder for the November 2007 death on nine year-old Rowan Ford.
It took jurors about four hours to decide that the state proved that Collings kidnapped Ford from her bedroom in Stella and took her to his trailer near Wheaton where he raped and strangled the fourth grader with cord from a spool that he had in the back of his truck before dumping her body in a cave in McDonald County.
Ford went missing on November 2nd and her body was found in Fox cave on November 9th.
Jurors will begin the second phase of the trial tomorrow morning. That is where there will be a mini-trial before jurors decide if Collings lives or receives the death penalty. It is at this time that jurors will hear from friends and family members of Rowan and Collings.
Ford's stepfather, David Spears, is also facing first-degree murder charges connected to the little girl's death. He is scheduled to stand trial in November in Pulaski County where the case was moved on a change of venue.