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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - Justin Deryke, the man accused of murdering his 7-year-old niece last year, is headed to prison for the rest of his life.
Deryke pleaded guilty to the murder of Willow Long. On September 7 Deryke was watching Willow when he chased her out of the the house. Deryke claimed that Willow fell on a pile branches and one pierced her neck. An autopsy revealed she suffered stab wounds.
As part of the plea agreement, Deryke was sentenced to life in prison.
The trial for the man accused of murdering 7-year-old Willow Long has been postponed again.
Justin DeRyke was set to appear in court next week, but the defense says they need more time to prepare. DeRyke is accused of murdering his niece. The new trial date is February 10.
DeRyke remains in the Effingham County Jail under a $5 million bond.
EFFINGHAM, Ill. (AP) - A 22 year old southern Illinois man accused of fatally stabbing his 7 year old niece won't go on trial until next year.
The Effingham Daily News reports an Effingham County judge on Monday tentatively scheduled Justin DeRyke's trial for February. But State's Attorney Bryan Kibler says it likely will be later than that because DeRyke's attorney has so many audio and video interviews to review.
DeRyke is accused of killing Willow Long in September near her home in Watson, a village about 100 miles northeast of St. Louis.
Investigators say DeRyke insisted he killed his niece to "put her out of her misery" after he says she fell onto a brush pile and pierced her neck.
DeRyke has pleaded not guilty and is jailed on $5 million bond.
A grand jury in Effingham County has indicted 22-year-old Justin DeRyke on three counts of first-degree murder.
DeRyke is accused of stabbing his 7-year-old niece Willow Long to death on September 8. For each count of murder, he faces a mandatory term of life in prison if convicted.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has taken her brother into protective custody and is investigating Willow's mother.
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.