The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and death sentence for Christopher Collings, who admitted raping and killing 9-year-old Rowan Ford in November 2007.
The court on Tuesday rejected numerous arguments in Collings' appeal.
The girl was taken from her home in Stella and found a week later in a sinkhole in McDonald County. Her stepfather, David Spears, was also charged with murder and rape but pleaded guilty to reduced charges of child endangerment and hindering prosecution. Prosecutors said there was no physical evidence tying Spears to the killing.
Collings' lawyers argued among other things that the trial court should have excluded his confession. Collings had said he ``freaked out'' and strangled Rowan because she looked at him while being raped.