ROLLA, Mo. - For the first time, jurors are hearing an accused Missouri killer confess to raping and murdering a little girl. On Friday, jurors watched Chris Collings’ two videotaped confessions Friday in the courtroom. Officers videotaped two separate interviews on November 9, 2007 inside the Barry County Sheriff’s Office.
Collings is one of two men charged with the rape and murder of nine-year-old Rowan Ford. As Collings watched himself confess to the rape and murder, he would look at the screen then down at the table in front of him. Ford's mother wept throughout the confession and wiped tears from her eyes.
In the grainy, flashing video an officer read Collings his rights. “You have the right to remain silent anything you say can be used against you in a court of law,” the officer said on the videotape. That statement came true more than four years later in front of a jury that could decide if Collings lives or dies.
“All together that night I had about five six packs,” Collings told the interviewers with a laugh. “I don't do nothing in moderation. I'm not trying to be funny. This is really hard.”
Collings appeared to struggle when asked to explain what happened to Ford. “To this day I still don't know why I did it,” Collings said. “I picked her up and carried her out to my truck.” Collings says he took the sleeping girl from her bedroom to his mobile home. Collings paused then coughed before he said, “I took her pants and her underwear.” Officers asked if he had sex with Ford and Collings answered “yes.”
After Collings says he raped the little girl, he walked her outside his home. “I went outside with her and you could see a little bit because there was some moonlight outside then she turned around and she looked at me,” Collings said. “I just started freaking like ‘oh my God she knows who I am what the hell am I going to do now.”
According to the accused killer, he strangled Ford with “chicken house cord” or cord often used to build a cage for chickens. “After I realized what I done I knew I was in a lot of trouble,” Collings said. “I knew I had to do something, I didn't know what.”
Collings told officers he threw Ford's body inside a McDonald County cave then burned some of her clothes, his bloody clothes and a mattress. One of the interviewers asked Collings, “Did David Spears have any knowledge of this?” Collings answered “no.”
Investigators say Ford's step-dad, David Spears also confessed. That caused them to tape a second interview asking Collings if Spears was involved. “I don't know why they did what they did, said what they said and lied and stuff,” Collings said.
Near the end of the first 68 minute videotape an interviewer asked Collings if he felt bad about what happened. “I felt bad that's why I've been bawling like a baby all afternoon,” Collings said. Even if Collings' regrets his confessed actions, regret won't bring back Ford.
During the second videotaped interview for more than 70 minutes officers ask Collings repeatedly if Spears was involved. They say Spears was confessing to separate officers in Neosho with similar details. Throughout both of the confessions Collings remained adamant that he acted alone. KSPR News learned it's possible the defense will call Spears to the stand. If they do, he will likely plead the fifth. His trial is scheduled to begin in October.