Springfield man charged in child rape to seek venue change

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 | 11:08 a.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD — Lawyers are seeking a change of venue for a Springfield man accused of raping a 7-year-old girl before leaving her to die in a burning house.

Jeffrey Allen Dickson, 38, is charged with kidnapping, forcible rape and two counts of forcible sodomy in the incident on April 6, 2008.

Dickson's lawyer, public defender Rod Hackathorn, said heavy media coverage of the story might make it difficult for Dickson to get a fair trial in Greene County. Hackathorn said at a hearing Monday he'll file for a change of venue within a week.

Dickson is accused of abducting the girl from a home and taking her to an empty house several blocks away. There, he allegedly choked, raped and sodomized the girl before making her smoke something from a pipe, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

She awoke to find the house on fire.

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