A man who murdered and raped a woman before joining a search party to find her will spend his life behind bars.
Quake Lewellyn, 29, of Jonesboro, in the US state of Arkansas, pleaded guilty to capital murder and rape charges as part of a plea deal in which prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty on Friday. Prosecutors also agreed to dismiss kidnapping and abuse of a corpse charges.
Lewellyn was charged in the August 2020 death of Sydney Sutherland. He told investigators he hit the 25-year-old with his ute then drove to another location, raped her and buried the body, according to an affidavit.
The 25-year-old was jogging in the area at the time.
Ms Sutherland’s body was found near Newport, about 129 kilometres northeast of Little Rock, several days after she disappeared in August 2019.
Her killer joined a search party in trying to find her, KATV reported. About 150 people were in the search party and Lewellyn was also a member of a Facebook page dedicated to finding Ms Sutherland.
Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas said the pair knew each other, but didn't clarify how. They did go to the same high school.
On Friday, Lewellyn was sentenced to life in jail.
Ms Sutherland’s brother Sam told the court in a victim impact statement that Lewellyn was a “monster”, KARK.com reported.
“The devil has a special place just for you and you can’t get there soon enough,” the statement read.
Their mother Maggie asked Lewellyn if it was “worth it”.
“What you took from us 408 days ago we’ll never get again,” she told him.
Lewellyn will have no opportunity to appeal his sentence.
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