NEWPORT — The jury trial for the Craighead County man suspected of murdering Sydney Sutherland is scheduled to begin in late September.
Jackson County Circuit Judge Harold Erwin ordered mental exams in December 2020 for Quake Lewellyn, 28, of Jonesboro. His trial wasn’t scheduled until Tuesday due to the previously pending mental health evaluations and the Arkansas Supreme Court’s suspension of jury trials during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sutherland, a 24-year-old nurse from Tuckerman, was reported missing in August 2020, after she didn’t return home from jogging along a rural highway. Lewellyn told a mental health professional that he struck the woman with his truck while checking wells in the area.
Though he was “scared and afraid,” he then loaded Sutherland’s body into the tailgate of his truck, drove her to a rice field, where he planned to bury her, according to reports. Lewellyn confessed to “trying to mess with her” before burying her.
The victim’s iPhone was found in a field along Jackson 41 South. Sutherland’s body was found yards away from where Lewellyn’s phone pinged following a two-day search by law enforcement and hundreds of community volunteers, a document states.
Lewellyn is being held without bond in the Randolph County Detention Center on capital murder, kidnapping, rape and abuse of a corpse.
“He expressed that he would like to take his case to trial so ‘I can get my story out there to whoever needs to hear it,’” Dr. Lacey Willett wrote in her evaluation.
His next court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. July 6 at the Jackson County Courthouse, 200 Main St., Newport. The jury trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. Sept. 28, the scheduling order states.