Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Supreme Court rejects child-killer's request for rehearing on death penalty appeal
Collings, 40, was sentenced to death for the November 2, 2007, murder of nine-year-old Rowan Ford, a fourth grader at Triway Elementary School in Stella.
The court heard arguments in the case January 8, with public defenders representing Collings asking that he either be granted a new trial, be sentenced to second degree murder instead of first degree, or resentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
The attorneys cited a number of reasons for the requests including the following, all of which were rejected by the judges.
-Collings did not confess voluntarily. "Law enforcement officers exploited the close friendship Collings had with Wheaton Police Chief Clinton Clark." The petition also says law enforcement took advantage of Collings' fear of vigilante justice.
-Clark kept Collings talking even though he was aware Collings had an attorney.
-The prosecution failed to prove an element of first degree murder, that Collings had "coolly reflected" before killing Rowan Ford. Testimony indicated that Collings "freaked out" when he realized that Rowan had recognized him after he raped her.
-The judge should not have allowed the prosecution to show "excessively gruesome and prejudicial" photos of Rowan Ford.
-The judge should have declared a mistrial after the prosecutor simulated the strangulation of Rowan Ford in front of the jury.
-Chris Collings has shown "deep remorse" and "accepted responsibility" for the murder.