Man Accused of Ramming Jogger with Truck Before Murder Allegedly 'Tried to Forget' About Crime
An Arkansas farmer accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering a jogger "just tried to forget about it" as he resumed his routine after allegedly burying the woman's body in a field, he allegedly told a psychologist gauging his fitness for trial.
The suspect, Quake Lewellyn, 28, of Jonesboro, allegedly did not deny striking 25-year-old Sydney Sutherland with his pickup on August 19, 2020, on a rural road, according to the court-ordered evaluation by Dr. Lacey Willett. Lewellyn allegedly said he believed the collision killed Sutherland. Her body was found two days later.
"I knew I didn't kill her on purpose," Lewellyn allegedly told the psychologist, according to her report, which was obtained by the Jonesboro Sun.
But Lewellyn also said: "At this point, I was scared and afraid I was gonna be in trouble for running her over."
Lewellyn allegedly said he was checking on wells and rice fields at the time, and loaded Sutherland's body into the bed of his truck before driving to a rice field where he dug a hole because "that was just where I was and where I was going to begin with."
He allegedly admitted to removing the victim's clothing and "trying to mess with her" before burying the body, but did not further detail what he meant by that, Willett wrote.
Authorities previously alleged in a probable cause affidavit that Lewellyn had admitted to striking Sutherland with his pickup, then loading her into his vehicle and driving her to the remote location, where he raped her on the tailgate of his pickup and then buried her.
Afterward the suspect allegedly recalled that he returned to work, eating lunch and checking on wells, according to Willett's report. He "just tried to forget about it," he said, and the next day "went to work just like normal," he said.
Sutherland was reported missing after she failed to return from her jog to the home she shared with a boyfriend. A large search effort led to police locating her cell phone. Authorities were able to allegedly place the suspect near the body by using information from Lewellyn's own cell phone, according to a probable cause affidavit.
With the search under way, and hoping to avoid becoming a suspect, Lewellyn went to police to say he may have been the last person to see Sutherland alive, Willett wrote. He also joined a Facebook group dedicated to finding her, and claimed to be a member of the search party.
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The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, citing Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas, earlier reported that Lewellyn and Sutherland were familiar with each another. Sutherland, a registered nurse, and Lewellyn both attended Tuckerman High School but were a few years apart, reports the newspaper.
Lewellyn was detained by authorities within hours of the discovery of Sutherland's remains, not far from her Jackson County home.
He is being held without bond in the Randolph County jail on charges of capital murder, rape, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse. KATV reports he has pleaded not guilty.
The mental health evaluation had been requested by his attorney, Bill James, who wrote in a motion that he has "reason to believe" a "mental disease or defect" may limit Lewellyn's ability to understand the case against him, and that his "ability to assist in his defense may be in question," according to the Democrat-Gazette.
Willett concluded that Lewellyn was mentally fit to stand trial, reports the Jonesboro Sun.
He faces the death penalty if convicted of the charges against him. No trial date has been set.