Justin Deryke says he was just trying to put his 7-year-old niece "out of her misery" when he killed her over the weekend.
Officials say autopsy results contradict his story. Deryke claims he was watching a movie with Willow Long over the weekend when she allegedly scratched his arm. He became angry and chased Willow out of the house. He says she fell into a brush pile and a branch stabbed her in the neck. That is when Deryke says he got a knife and stabbed the girl to death.
The autopsy shows Willow had defensive wounds on her hands and that casts doubt on Deryke's story.
Willow's 3-year-old brother has been taken into protective custody.
EFFINGHAM, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois man is jailed on $5 million bond after being accused of stabbing his 7-year-old niece to death.
Effingham County prosecutors charged 22-year-old Justin DeRyke on Wednesday with three counts of first-degree murder. The criminal complaint alleges DeRyke stabbed Willow Long in the chest with a knife Sunday.
Four of the hundreds of volunteers who searched for the girl found her body Monday night near the small town of Watson, where the girl and DeRyke lived. DeRyke was arrested Tuesday morning.
Authorities have said Willow's mother was feeling ill and went back to bed Sunday morning, only to wake up a short time later and find her daughter missing.
A judge has given time for DeRyke to hire an attorney. DeRyke doesn't have a listed home telephone number.
Two men are accused of shooting and killing a man outside of an East St. Louis nightclub.
Police say Dameon Floore and Torcus Boone killed Kenneth Richards in the parking lot of Denese's Place. Floore is in police custody and held on $9,000,000 bail.
Boone remains at large and is reportedly in the metro east. Police say Boone should be considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone with information about their location should call the Illinois State Police at 618-346-3990 or Crime Stoppers at 866-371-TIPS (8477).
The suspect in a fatal carjacking has pleaded guilty to killing an 85-year-old grandmother.
21-year-old DaQuan Barnes will get a 60-year-sentence for the murder instead of life in prison under an agreement with prosecutors.
Prosecutors say Barnes and two accomplices, identified as 39-year-old LaTosha Cunningham and 30-year-old DeMarcus Barnes, waited for Yoko Cullen outside of a Collinsville bingo hall in May of 2011. Barnes force her into the trunk of her car, drove to east St. Louis, and set the vehicle on fire.
Investigators say Cullen was alive as the vehicle burned.
Prosecutors have charged a man for a 2012 murder. Michael Shirlee is accused of killing a 31-year-old woman in November.
High school student Danah Jackson found the body in a vacant lot in North St. Louis while she was on her way to school. Officers investigated the scene near the intersection of Market and North Grand.
Police say the woman's body had signs of trauma, but have not elaborated.
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A man wanted in the 1984 killing of a Joplin woman has been arrested in San Diego, California.
Joplin police say FBI agents arrested 64-year-old Paul Moses on Friday on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution in the killing of 62-year-old Frances Ramsey.
The Joplin Globe reports that a felony murder warrant for Moses had been on the books since shortly after Ramsey's killing. Her body was found August 11th, 1984 in an unoccupied duplex that was being remodeled.
Authorities said Moses is being held in San Diego pending extradition proceedings to bring him to Missouri. No attorney is listed for him in online court records.
Moses was described in court records in 1984 as a 35-year-old transient.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say a man was killed and a woman wounded by shots fired from a vehicle that was chasing other vehicles.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the shooting happened early Saturday. Police identified the man who was killed as Desmond Adair of St. Louis.
Police say the suspect was in a vehicle that chased two vehicles through city streets. The vehicle in which Adair was riding struck a pole. Occupants in the second vehicle that was being fired upon stopped and pulled Adair out. They took him to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A 23-year-old woman in the second vehicle was shot in the arm. She was listed in stable condition at an area hospital.
Police have a man in custody connected to the murder of a woman and her unborn baby.
Hazelwood officers found Denitra Jones dead in her apartment on Monday morning. Investigators say Jones had recently discovered she was pregnant. The coroner ruled Jones' death a homicide. After an investigation, officers presented their case against Michael Collins. Prosecutors issued charges against him including two counts of murder in the first degree.
Collins is held on a half-million dollar bond.
An investigation continues after a woman was found dead in her Hazelwood apartment.
Around 9:45 a.m. police were asked to check on the welfare of 27-year-old Denitra Jones. When officers arrived, they found her body. Investigators say the circumstances surrounding her death were suspicious and the coroner confirmed her death was a homicide.
Police say they have a person of interest in custody and are presenting the case the prosecutors.
LEBANON, Mo. (AP) — A jury has recommended the death penalty for a man convicted of killing an elderly couple who interrupted a burglary at their south-central Missouri home in July 2010.
The jury that was brought to Laclede County from Franklin County deliberated about four hours Friday afternoon before reaching its recommendation for 33-year-old Jesse Driskill of Lebanon, Missouri.
The same panel convicted Driskill on Wednesday of first-degree murder in the deaths of 82-year-old Johnnie Wilson and 76-year-old Coleen Wilson at their secluded home near Lebanon. Both were shot, and Coleen Wilson was raped before their killer tried to burn their bodies.
Laclede County Circuit Judge Kenneth Hayden will consider the jury's recommendation when he sentences Driskill on November 5th.
Besides murder, Driskill was also convicted of rape, sodomy, burglary and armed criminal action.