UPDATE 2:25 P.M.: Closing arguments have come to an end. Since this is a bench trial, Greene County Judge Calvin Holden will make a ruling based on the evidence and will hand down the sentence.
During the final day of trial, prosecution made the case that Savannah Leckie was still alive at the time of being burned, and that Ruud had drugged Leckie before burning her body. They’re also arguing the inmates who previously testified were credible sources.
“‘How do we know the defendant killed Savannah?’ Defendant destroyed the body,” prosecuting attorney Tony Brown said. “There was barely anything left of Savannah Leckie. Enough to fit in a bag.”
The defense argued that Leckie had struggled mentally, with documents to prove it. They said some of the witnesses, namely the inmates called to testify, were not credible, and that while Savannah’s body was burned by Ruud, Leckie had already killed herself before then.
“The state can absolutely prove that (Rebecca) burned Savannah’s body, but that is all they can prove,” Ruud’s public defender Lauren Welborn said. “They presented no credible evidence of anything related to a murder.”
Judge Holden is likely taking the case under advisement and will issue his ruling at a later time.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the trial of Rebecca Ruud, the Ozark County woman accused of killing her 16-year-old daughter and burning her body.
The bench trial, heard by Greene County Judge Calvin Holden, began on Monday. Ruud is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death, tampering with evidence, and abandonment of a corpse.
Ruud’s defense acknowledges Ruud admitted to burning Savannah Leckie’s body in a bonfire at a farm near Theodosia in 2017 but claims Savannah was already dead.
Prosecutors called three inmate witnesses to the stand Wednesday who they said were in prison at one point with Rebecca Ruud. Some witnesses said they would talk with Ruud, who said she drugged her daughter by crushing up pills and putting them in Kool-Aid.
Ruud was given the opportunity to take the stand in her own defense Wednesday but she declined.
On Tuesday, the court heard from Robert Peat, Junior, who is Ruud’s husband. He testified that Rebecca never told him that she burned Savannah’s body or did anything with it.