Prosecutor: Sowell not involved in murder, despite confession | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Prosecutor: Sowell not involved in murder, despite confession

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 1:45 PM

We reported this week on the troubling case of Christopher Sowell, a Mississippi County teenager who confessed to the Aug. 2013 murder of his neighbor, 11-year-old Jessica Williams, after over six hours of police interrogation, saying he'd strangled her before pushing her body from the bridge where she was later found. That confession fell into doubt when another man, Freddie Sharp III, was linked to semen samples taken from the girl's body. Sharp was eventually convicted of rape, but has not been charged with murder. 

Today, Second Judicial District Prosecutor Scott Ellington released a statement in the case exonerating Christopher Sowell, saying Sowell was "not involved in the murder of Jessica Williams."

The shadow of Jessie Misskelley still flits over East Arkansas, friends: 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2015

STATEMENT FROM SCOTT ELLINGTON,
PROSECUTING ATTORNEY FOR THE SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT
IN RE: JESSICA WILLIAMS MURDER INVESTIGATION

“Based upon the good investigative work of law enforcement, there was reason to initially believe that Christopher Sowell may have been involved in the murder of Jessica Williams, age 11, of Gosnell. Following Mr. Sowell's arrest, diligent investigative and scientific techniques employed by detectives and the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory allowed us to continue the investigation into her murder.

“Scientific evidence brought another suspect to the attention of the detectives working this case. The murder investigation is ongoing and what remains ahead is wrapping up this matter and seeking full justice for Jessica's family and our community.

“Based upon due diligence and forensic science, two things became clear following the Freddie Sharp III rape trial: 1.) Mr. Sowell was not involved in the murder of Jessica Williams and 2.) his original statement did not square with the scientific evidence in this case. My office, the Mississippi County Sheriff's Office, and the Arkansas State Police will continue to work on this matter in pursuit of justice for Jessica, the Williams family and the good people of our community.”


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