ROLLA, Mo. (AP) — A judge has formally sentenced a 37-year-old southwest Missouri man to death for raping and killing a friend's 9-year-old stepdaughter.

A jury that convicted Christopher Collings, of Wheaton, in March had recommended the death penalty. Phelps County Circuit Judge Mary Sheffield imposed the sentence Friday.

Collings and David Spears were both charged in the November 2007 rape and killing of Spears' stepdaughter, Rowan Ford, of Stella. Spears is awaiting trial.

Collings said in a videotaped confession that he "freaked out" and strangled the child because she looked at him as she was being raped. His defense lawyer had requested a life sentence.

KSPR-TV ( ) reports the judge did not set an execution date for Collings.


Information from: KSPR-TV,