CASSVILLE, Mo. – The two men charged in rape and murder of 9-year-old Rowan Ford had their first brief court appearance Tuesday.
Barry County Associate Circuit Judge Victor Head read the charges against each man and was informed that they were applying for public defenders.
Rowan's stepfather, 25-year-old David Spears and his friend 32-year-old Chris Collings were brought into court under heavy guard wearing wrist and ankle shackles.
Spears and Collings are charged with one count each of first-degree murder, forcible rape and statutory rape.
Rowan's mother sat in the front row of the gallery flanked by several friends and family members. She did not speak during the brief hearing and was escorted out through the court chambers by the prosecutor afterward.