An Arkansas farmer has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the rape and murder of nurse Sidney Sutherland.
Quake Llewellyn, 29, reversed his plea of not guilty after appearing in court on Friday after entering a plea with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty.
Prosecutors dismissed charges of kidnapping and misappropriation of a corpse.
Ms Sutherland, 25, went missing in August 2020 while jogging near Newport, Arkansas.
After her disappearance, Llewellyn joined volunteers searching for Sutherland and became a member of a Facebook group dedicated to finding her.
Two days after his disappearance, she was found in a shallow grave not far from his residence.
According to an affidavit, she was arrested a few days later, claiming that he crushed her with his truck, and then raped her and buried her body.
Law enforcement said they knew each other, but did not disclose any further details.
During a court appearance Friday in Jackson County, the victim’s mother, Maggie Sutherland, told Llewellyn to look at her as she read an impact statement.
“Look me in the eyes,” she said.
“You treated her like nothing but she was everything to me. You didn’t just kill Sydney that day, something died in me too,” she said.
“She wasn’t yours to pick up.”
“The hands with which you hugged me are the same hands with which you hit her,” he said, referring to conversations that took place during Ms. Sutherland’s search.
Sidney Sutherland’s brother Sam Sutherland had his statement read out by a support person, according to kark.com.
“Every night has been sleepless, hoping it’s a nightmare,” he said. “I wish, hope and pray that God will not have any mercy on your soul at all.”
Sydney’s father, Dion Sutherland, called Llewellyn “a 300-pound coward who hit my 100-pound daughter with a 3,000-pound truck.”
After the court hearing, Llewellyn’s attorney Bill James said: “Obviously my client wanted to accept responsibility for what he did.
“Mrs. Sutherland’s family did this kindness and we took it. For this we are certainly grateful. It was the right thing to do for Quake and everyone involved. “
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /