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Death penalty trial for Johnathan Quiles accused of killing niece he allegedly impregnated


Johnathan Quiles Mugshot courtesy of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

Iyana Sawyer’s body has never been recovered, but her uncle may pay the ultimate price for her disappearance.

Johnathan Quiles faces the death penalty for the first-degree murder and sexual battery of his 16-year-old niece. Authorities believe the Florida man killed his niece because she was pregnant with his child.

The state theorizes that the 34-year-old shot the girl to death before placing her in a dumpster that was taken to Otis Road Landfill. The defense on the other hand argues that Sawyer, who was last seen in December 2018, is still alive.

Judge Anthony Salem will allow testimony regarding past sexual assault accusations and crimes against Quiles to be brought into the trial. Since Quiles’ arrest, death penalty laws in Florida changed from requiring a unanimous death recommendation to allowing an 8-4 vote. Judge Salem has yet to decide how the law will be considered in this case.

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