The trial of accused child murderer David Spears has been postponed from July to August of 2011. Spears is charged with raping and murdering his 9-year-old stepdaughter, Rowan Ford, in November 2007.
The decision to postpone Spears' trial was made last Thursday following the completion of another pre-trial hearing in Pulaski County Circuit Court to determine whether or not Spear's tape-recorded confession is admissable in court.
Defense attorneys want the confession thrown out, claiming Spears was tricked into confessing. The prosecution continues to argue that Spears' confession was given voluntarily and with a clear understanding of his Miranda rights.
Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 21 in Pulaski County, where the case was moved on a change of venue.
Back in February, the trial of Christopher Collings, the second man charged in the murder and rape of Ford, was posponed from July until January of 2011. Collings' trial will take place in Phelps County on a change of venue.
Collings and Spears have both been charged with first degree murder, forcible rape and statutory rape in connection with Ford's death.
Both men were arrested on Nov. 9, 2007, one week after Ford was first reported missing and the day Ford's body was discovered in a sinkhole near Powell in McDonald County.
The actual rape and murder allegedly took place on the night of Nov. 2, 2007, in a trailer in Wheaton owned by Collings. Both Collings and Spears confessed to the crime, but there are conflicting statements in their confessions.
Collings said he took Ford from her home in Stella and brought her to his trailer in Wheaton where he raped her and then strangled her. He also admitted to disposing of Ford's body in a sinkhole.
Spears said he arrived at Collings' home to find Collings' raping his stepdaughter. Spears said he participated in the sexual assault and then strangled Ford. According to Spears' confession, he and Collings transported Ford's body to a cave.
Collings and Spears are being represented by the Missouri State Public Defenders Office. Barry County Prosecuting Attorney Johnnie Cox will be assisted in the prosecution of the case by Elizabeth Bock, assistant attorney general for the state of Missouri.
Cox is seeking the death penalty against both Collings and Spears.