Man convicted in kidnap, rape of 7-year-old

SPRINGFIELD | A southwest Missouri man has been convicted of kidnapping and raping a 7-year-old girl who was left for dead in a burning house.

A jury in Greene County Circuit Court deliberated about two hours Friday before returning the verdicts against Jeffery A. Dickson. The 39-year-old Springfield man faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 23.

Dickson’s public defender said the convictions would be appealed.

Testimony in the four-day trial included the girl’s description of her April 2006 abduction from a Springfield home where her grandmother had gone to play cards. The girl’s abductor took her to another house where she was assaulted and choked into unconsciousness. She regained consciousness and escaped from the burning building.