Missouri woman acquitted of killing daughter to be free soon

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri woman who was acquitted in July of killing her teenage daughter but convicted of abandoning the girl’s corpse was sentenced Thursday but will be released from prison soon.

Rebecca Ruud was acquitted in the death of 16-year-old Savannah Leckie, who moved to Ruud’s farm after leaving her adoptive home in Minnesota. Ruud gave the girl up for adoption as a baby.

But Ruud was convicted of abandoning the girl’s corpse, which was found on a burn pile at Ruud’s property on the Arkansas-Missouri border in July 2017.

She was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday and fined $5,000. But she will be given credit for the five years she has been in prison since her arrest, meaning she will be freed after prison officials process her release, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

During her trial, Ruud’s attorneys argued that Leckie died by suicide and Ruud panicked and burned her body after finding her dead.

After the bench trial, Greene County Circuit Court Judge Calvin Holden ruled that the state did not present enough evidence to support a murder charge.

Murder charges against Ruud’s husband, Robert Peat Jr., were dismissed Thursday shortly before Ruud’s sentencing.

Leckie’s adoptive mother, Tamile Leckie-Montague, has said the girl went to live with Ruud in 2016 because she was having behavioral problems.

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