Local farmer farmer Quake Lewellyn, 28, Thursday in a Jonesboro, Ark. court, has denied running over jogger mom he knew with his truck
Sydney Sutherland was found dead in a shallow grave near her home in Newport, Arkansas in August – she had been physically and sexually abused
The 25-year-old was reported missing on Wednesday Aug 19 after going for a jog
Shortly after, authorities arrested a local man, Quake Lewellyn, in connection with her disappearance
Lewellyn is said to have confessed that he ran over Sydney Sutherland, with his truck, then drove her to a field where he raped her on his tailgate
He allegedly claimed that he then dug a hole and buried the body
In 2016 Lewellyn, a Tuckerman High School graduate, was named as Jackson County Farm Family of the Year alongside his dad Michael and granddad Donald
He’s been charged with capital murder and could face life in prison, if convicted
An Arkansas farmer on trial for running down a young mom who was out jogging and then raped her and buried the body, has recanted his pre-trial admission to the crime.
On Thursday, Quake Lewellyn, 28, who has won awards for his farming efforts, pled not guilty to charges that he raped and killed the young woman who was known to him because they both attended the same high school.
The defendant’s plea which he entered in a Jonesboro court, was quite the turnabout given he had previously confessed to local authorities that he had plowed into Southerland with his car when she was out jogging on August 19, and then drove her to a nearby field and raped her on his truck’s tailgate.
He detailed how he then dug a grave for his victim with a shovel and buried her.
Lewellyn’s attorney, Bill James, said he was concerned people were too focused on rumors instead of allowing the trial to play out.
“Everyone is so anxious for information on this case, and it seems that whatever is being said about it is getting printed,” James insisted as he sought to defend his client from charges that he raped and murdered the the 25-year-old nurse while she was out jogging.
According to the results of the autopsy, Sutherland died from multiple blunt force injuries.
At the time Arkansas police said local farmer Quake Lewellyn abducted Sutherland while she was jogging before proceeding to rape and murder her.
After Lewellyn allegedly confessed to killing Sutherland under questioning by police, Arkansas State Police claimed that the suspect forced Sutherland into the back of his truck when he spotted her jogging on a local road.
Evidence from security footage that the Lewllyn’s mother turned over to authorities is particularly damning against him as he seeks to deny in court that he ran over the jogging mom.
The footage backs up the mother’s statement to police that she found a mysterious dent in her son’s truck during the period immediately preceding Sutherland’s tragic demise.
Two days after Sutherland vanished after going out jogging, her body was found. The Lewellyn then promptly confessed to killing and raping her when questioned by Arkansas cops.
Lewellyn and Sutherland attended the same small school in Arkansas and reportedly, knew each other.
Ironically, the alleged killer had joined a Facebook group dedicated to finding Sutherland when she was still considered a missing person.
When the police searched Lewellyn’s home, they found a pair of shoes that matched the imprints at the site where investigators discovered Sutherland’s buried body.
Investigators also found blood on the hood of his truck.
Despite evidence that the alleged killer and his victim attended the same small school in Arkansas, he told cops during an interview that he barely knew Sutherland. However, an affidavit, states that they both graduated from the same small high school in Tuckerman, which typically has less than 200 students.
The Arkansas farmer’s wife filed for divorce last month and has been working with the police as they’ve built up a case that he mowed down the jogging mom and raped her.
Lewellyn on Thursday waived his arraignment.
Instead he pled not guilty to his four charges of capital murder, kidnapping, rape and abuse of corpse and asked for a jury trial.
He is set to appear back in court on February 16, 2021