An Arkansas farmer has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the rape and murder of nurse Sidney Sutherland.
The farmer named Kwik Llewellyn, 29, revoked his plea of innocence during his appearance in court Friday, after an agreement with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty, and prosecutors also rejected charges of “kidnapping and abuse” of the corpse.
Sutherland, 25, disappeared in August 2020 while jogging on 41 Jackson County, near Newport, Arkansas, when she was attacked, according to “Fox News.”
Llewellyn told the authorities that he had hit her with his truck without seeing because of the dust from the gravel road, and after hitting her he thought she was dead, before he moved her body to a “rice field” where he dug a hole, stripped her clothes and raped her.
After her disappearance, Llewellyn joined volunteers searching for Sutherland and became a member of a Facebook group dedicated to finding her.
Her body was found two days after her disappearance, in a small grave-like hole, not far from Llewellyn’s home.
He was arrested a few days later, and in his written confession, he said that he ran over her with his truck, then raped her and buried her body.
Law enforcement authorities in the state said that they knew each other previously, without revealing other details, according to the newspaper “The Independent”.
While in Jackson County courthouse Friday, victim’s mother Maggie Sutherland asked Llewellyn to see her read a statement during the trial.
“Look me in the eye,” she said. “I treated her as nothing, but she was everything to me. Not only did Sydney kill that day, something inside of me died too.”
“The hands you hugged me with are the same hands you killed her with,” she added, referring to what he had done while searching for Sutherland.