An Arkansas farmer has pleaded not guilty to charges that he ran down a young mom who was out jogging and then raped her and buried the body, The U.S. Sun reports.
On Thursday, Quake Lewellyn, who has won awards for his farming efforts, entered his plea to charges stemming from the death of the jogging mom, 25-year-old Sydney Sutherland, in a court in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
The 28-year-old Arkansas farmer’s plea was quite the turnabout given he had previously confessed to local authorities that he had plowed into the mom 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 went on to state that after he had committed these heinous acts, he 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.
JOGGER ‘MURDER’ Truck driver, 28, DENIES running down Arkansas jogger Sydney Sutherland before raping and killing her
“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 the Arkansas farmer from charges that he raped and murdered the jogging mom.
According to the results of the autopsy, Sutherland, who was a nurse, died from multiple blunt force injuries.
Evidence from security footage that the farmer’s mother turned over to Arkansas authorities is particularly damning against him as he seeks to deny in court that he ran over the jogging mom.
According The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the footage backs up the mother’s claim to police that she found a mysterious dent in her son’s truck during the period immediately preceding Sutherland’s tragic demise.
The case has been highly publicized since news broke that Sutherland had disappeared.
Jonesboro man accused in rape, death says innocent
Two days after the mom vanished after going out jogging, her body was found. The farmer then promptly confessed to killing and raping her when questioned by Arkansas cops.
When the police searched Lewellyn’s house, they found a pair of shoes that matched the imprints at the site where investigators discovered Sutherland’s buried body.
ABC 7 On Your Side reports that Lewellyn was then arrested.
Witnesses have reported that the farmer and the jogging mom attended the same small school in Arkansas.
The Newport farmer told officers during an interview that he barely knew Sutherland, authorities said. But according to an affidavit, they graduated from the same small high school in Tuckerman, which typically has less than 200 students.
Court filings detail evidence against Sydney Sutherland’s accused killer
The two were also once Facebook friends.
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.
It certainly doesn’t help Lewellyn’s case that the police found blood on the hood of his truck.
According to THV 11, the Arkansas farmer has waived his arraignment as he stands charged of raping and murdering the jogging mom.
He pleaded not guilty to his four charges of capital murder, kidnapping, rape and abuse of corpse and asked for a jury trial. Lewellyn waived his arraignment scheduled for Thursday and is set to appear back in court on February 16, 2021.
Sydney Sutherland’s alleged killer pleads not guilty to all four charges
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