More than four years after her life ended following an act of depravity that is hard to contemplate, justice may finally arrive for Rowan Ford.
The case against one of the two men accused of killing Rowan, who was a nine-year-old fourth grader when she was raped and murdered in November 2007, will go to the jury before this column is published.
Judging from the evidence that has been presented, there is no risk that Chris Collings, 37,
, will ever see daylight as a free man. The only choice that remains is whether he will be sentenced to life in prison or given the death penalty. Wheaton
If Collings is convicted of first degree murder, he will most likely receive death by lethal injection. A second degree murder verdict would mean life in prison. The jurors also have the option of finding him not guilty. Collings’ own words will prevent that from happening.
Collings did not testify. It wouldn’t have done him any good. In fact, his attorneys did not present any witnesses, but simply rested their case. It was Collings’ chilling confession to
deputies. After drinking heavily and smoking marijuana, he took Rowan Ford from her bedroom to his place, raped her and then murdered her when he thought she had recognized him and would be able to tell what he had done. Barry County
Collings insisted he was the only one involved in Rowan Ford’s death, but deputies indicated Rowan’s stepfather, David Wesley Spears, had information that he could have only known if he had participated in the crime. Spears is also charged with the murder.
Spears’ testimony was a highly anticipated event in the trial, but turned out to be anticlimactic as he cited his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer questions.
Whatever happens to Collings, and those who knew Rowan Ford, as well as those who came to know her through the photos and stories about her that were published after her death are hoping that Collings receives the ultimate punishment; it will be an unsatisfying ending.
Nothing can take the place of the nine-year-old who brought such joy to those who knew her.
The end of the Collings trial will set the stage for the final chapter, the trial of her stepfather, which is scheduled to begin late this year- more than five years after the murder.
Unless there are even more delays, David Wesley Spears will go to trial during what would have been his stepdaughter’s freshman year at
. East Newton High School
Though Collings says Spears had nothing to do with the murder, he did say his friend failed Rowan Ford.
“The only thing he’s guilty of is leaving that house and leaving that little girl alone,” Collings told deputies.
Deputies point out that Spears was the one who led them to the exact location of Rowan Ford’s body and that he also had accurate information about other aspects of the crime, including the way the girl was strangled.
Whether leaving Rowan Ford alone is the only thing that Spears should take the blame for is something for a jury to decide. Hopefully, that will happen by the end of this year.
The longer justice is delayed, the longer it is denied.