Prosecutors to seek death penalty in slaying of Mo. girl

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

CASSVILLE, Mo. (AP) -- Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for two men charged in the rape and murder of a 9-year-old southwest Missouri girl.

Barry County prosecutor Johnnie Cox filed notice with the court Monday that he plans to seek the death penalty for David Spears and Chris Collings. Spears was Rowan Ford's stepfather, and Collings was his friend.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, forcible rape and statutory rape.

Rowan disappeared from her home in the small town of Stella in November. Her body was found days later in a cave.

Prosecutors say both men have confessed to the crime, but authorities are trying to reconcile discrepancies between their accounts.

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