Change in Justin DeRyke’s trial date

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ill. (WTHI) – A change has been made in the trial date for an Illinois man accused in the death of his niece.

Justin DeRyke will now go to trial on April 7 in Effingham County, Illinois. Investigators say DeRyke admitted to police he stabbed 7-year-old Willow Long in the heart and slit her throat.

But, he pleaded not guilty.

DeRyke faces first degree murder charges in Long’s death. If convicted on any of the charges, DeRyke faces a mandatory sentence of natural life in prison. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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