Trial set for Southeast Missouri man accused of toddler's murder

Friday, February 10, 2012

KENNETT, Mo. -- The Senath, Mo., man accused of murder in the death of a 3-year-old girl last year will face trial on Dec. 10.

Shawn Morgan, 43, is charged with the murder of BreeAnn Rodgriguez, who lived in his neighborhood at the time of her death.

Jurors will be selected in Phelps County, Mo,. on Dec. 6 and 7, according to Dunklin County Prosecutor Stephen P. Sokoloff.

Motions filed by defense attorney Thomas Earl Marshall include a motion to proceed in accordance with Ake v. Oklahoma, U.S. Supreme Court case from the 1980s which would decide whether an indigent defendant has a constitutional right to a psychiatric examination by a mental health professional at the state's expense. Another motion asks that Morgan be allowed to appear in court in street clothes, instead of prison attire.

When Morgan was arrested on Aug. 13, he was charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and tampering with physical evidence.

Rodriguez went missing from near her home on Aug. 6.

A search of the area was conducted by various agencies which included the FBI, the Dunklin County Sheriff's Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Kennett Police Department and the Bootheel Drug Task Force, as well as members of the community.

Ten days later the child's remains were located near ditches northeast of Hornersville, Mo., approximately eight miles southeast of her home in Senath.

Additional charges were later filed against Morgan, which included felony kidnapping and possession of child pornography.

According to Sokoloff, the victim's parents support his seeking the death penalty.

Pertinent address:

Senath, MO

Kennett, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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