Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A bit late, but Globe article notes venue change requests by men charged with Rowan Ford's murder

The article is a bit late, but the motions filed by the two men charged with killing nine-year-old Rowan Ford of Stella, her stepfather David Wesley Spears, 25, and Chris Collings, 32, for a change of venue, are noted in today's edition:

Michael King, a Carthage-based public defender representing David Spears, 25, said he requested a change of venue last week because of the “extreme publicity” generated by the case. Spears is charged in Barry County with first-degree murder, forcible rape and statutory rape in connection with the death of his stepdaughter, Rowan Ford.

The motion calls for the case to be tried in a different county or for jurors from outside Barry County to be imported to hear the case, King said.

Chris Collings, 32, of Wheaton, faces the same three charges. Collings’ attorney, Clate Baker, a public defender from Monett, also has requested a change of venue for his client.

Both men were bound over to Barry County Circuit Court for trial after waiving their preliminary hearings within the past two months. Bond amounts have not been set for either man, King said.

Investigators believe Rowan was abducted early Nov. 3 from her home in Stella in Newton County, murdered in Barry County, and her body disposed of in McDonald County. The body was found in a sinkhole after a nearly weeklong search by authorities and volunteers.

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