Suspected killer of Senath 3-year-old gets new judge in capital murder trial

Shawn Morgan (Source: Dunklin County Sheriff's Department)
Shawn Morgan (Source: Dunklin County Sheriff's Department)
Breeann Rodriguez (Source: NCMEC)
Breeann Rodriguez (Source: NCMEC)

KENNETT, MO (KAIT) – The man accused of killing Senath 3-year-old Breeann Rodriguez appeared in a Dunklin County courtroom Wednesday and requested a change of judge.

According to the Dunklin County Prosecutor's Office, a change of judge motion was granted in Shawn Morgan's capital murder trial.

The decision removes Judge Robert Mayer from presiding over the case, and assigns Judge Stephen Sharp as the new of the case.

The motion has been sent to the Missouri Supreme Court for approval. No date has been set for Morgan's trial. 

Morgan is charged with first degree murder, armed criminal action, tampering with evidence, child kidnapping, and possession of child pornography in the death of 3-year-old Breeann Rodriguez of Senath.

Dunklin County Prosecutor Stephen Sokoloff says he will seek the death penalty against Morgan.

Shawn Morgan is accused of killing 3-year-old Breeann Rodriguez after police say he admitted to an agent of the Bootheel Drug Task Force that he suffocated Breeann with a trash bag after finding her standing on the ladder of his pool.

Police say he admitted to dumping her body in the floodway ditches on Missouri Highway 164. He then told police he returned home, dismantled the bike she was riding and dumped it in the same floodway ditches.

Breeann went missing Saturday August 6 while riding her bicycle in front of her home. Morgan was arrested and admitted to police that he killed her on Saturday August 13.

Breeann's body was found more than a week later on Tuesday August 16 near the floodway ditches about eight miles southeast of her family's home in Senath.

Morgan pleaded not guilty in court in December 2011, and his lawyers filed a change of venue request. The request was granted with stipulations, meaning the trial will still be in Dunklin County, but the jury will come from Phelps County.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story and being you any updates as soon as they become available.

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