EFFINGHAM, Ill.—A 22-year-old southern Illinois man accused of fatally stabbing his 7-year-old niece will be back in court on Tuesday.
In November, an Effingham County judge tentatively scheduled Justin DeRyke’s trial for February. But State’s Attorney Bryan Kibler says it likely will be later than that because DeRyke’s attorney has so many audio and video interviews to review.
DeRyke is accused of killing Willow Long in September near her home in Watson, a village about 100 miles northeast of St. Louis.
Investigators say DeRyke insisted he killed his niece to “put her out of her misery” after he says she fell onto a brush pile and pierced her neck.
DeRyke has pleaded not guilty and is jailed on $5 million bond.
Long’s mother, Ciara DeRyke, was in January was sentenced to 120 days in jail for lying to police during the investigation into her daughter’s death.
Investigators say she told them she’d seen Long in September, even though the girl was already dead.
The Associated Press contributed to this report