Peat and Ruud appear in court for Savannah Leckie murder case
Husband and wife Robert Peat Jr. and Rebecca Ruud, who are each charged with murdering Ruud's 16-year-old biological daughter Savannah Leckie in 2017 and disposing of her corpse, appeared in Greene County court May 17 for a pre-trial conference. The state was represented by Ozark County Prosecuting Attorney John Garrabrant and Assistant Attorney General Steven Kretzer. Peat is represented by James Robert Hayes of Springfield, and Ruud is represented by Lauren Kate Welborn. Each defendant faces charges of first-degree murder, abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death, second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse.
Hayes filed a motion to suppress statements on behalf of Peat, and Garrabrant opposed that motion, saying the request to suppress statements was too vague. The motion to suppress and other evidentiary motions will be taken up by Circuit Judge Calvin Ray Holden during a motions hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 5, in Greene County. Peat's jury trial is still scheduled to take place in a little over two months, from July 30 through Aug. 3 in Greene County. Jury selection will take place in Cole County on July 19-20.
Ruud was previously scheduled for a jury trial to begin Aug. 27; however, that trial was stricken from the court's calendar and will be rescheduled for a later date. A second pretrial conference was scheduled in Greene County for Aug. 24 before Judge Holden. At that time, Ruud and her defense counsel will express whether they prefer a bench trial before a judge or a jury trial. If Ruud elects to have a bench trial, it will be scheduled for Nov. 26-28 in Greene County. If a jury trial is chosen instead, the trial will be held Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2019.
Ruud and Peat were charged in the case after Ruud reported Leckie missing from her Theodosia-area farm on July 20, 2017. Investigators found Leckie's charred bone fragments in a burn pile on the farm on Aug. 4.