Murder trials for Ruud and Peat await Supreme Court assignment


Rebecca Ruud’s and Robert Peat Jr.’s murder trials are both awaiting Supreme Court assignment to a new judge. 

Ruud appeared before Judge Tony W. Williams in the Taney County Courthouse Oct. 27 represented by public defender John Zimmerman after Ozark County Prosecutor John Garrabrant had filed a motion for a change of judge. The defense did not object. The case was sent to the Supreme Court for reassignment. Ruud is currently being held in the Taney County Jail. The case was transferred to Taney County from Ozark County on a change of venue motion Oct. 19. Both the defense and the prosecution reportedly agreed to hear all pre-trial motions in Ozark County; however, Evans told the attorneys that the presiding judge in the case will decide if the pre-trial motions will be heard at the Ozark County Courthouse in Gainesville or the Taney County Courthouse in Forsyth. 

Peat appeared in Ozark County Court before Circuit Judge Craig Carter Nov. 8, represented by James Robert Hayes, a private attorney contracted to represent Peat by the Missouri Public Defender’s office. Hayes had filed a motion for a change of judge and change of venue on Sept. 27, and Carter sustained the motions during the hearing last week. The case was also sent to the Supreme Court for reassignment. Peat is being held in the Douglas County Jail. 

Ruud and Peat, husband and wife, are both charged with murdering Ruud’s 16-year-old biological daughter, Savannah Leckie. Ruud reported Leckie missing from her Theodosia-area farm July 20. Investigators found Leckie’s burned remains on Ruud’s farm Aug. 4. 

Ozark County Times

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