Karl Roberts, who brutally raped and murdered his 12-year-old niece Andi Brewer, alive and well 20 years after conviction
Rebecca Petty's daughter Andi Brewer would have been 32 this year had she not been snatched away by her own uncle who lured her away from her Arkansas rural home, raped her and strangled her till she bit her tongue in half before her death.
At the age of 12, Andi Brewer was kidnapped by Karl Roberts, who was then 32. On May 24, 2000, Roberts was sentenced to death for kidnapping, raping and strangling Andi to death. But 20 years later, he still remains of death row.
Andi was killed in a forest near Mena in western Arkansas. In December 2014, Petty's former husband Gregory Brewer (at the time of her daughter's murder, Petty was already divorced from Brewer) of Mena physically attacked Roberts in one of the courtroom proceedings.
Roberts had sought to waive his constitutional rights and accept the death penalty—this prompted his attorneys to contend that he is not mentally competent to waive his post-conviction rights.
In a chilling account, he had confessed in detail to the police the atrocities he committed on the young girl and how he killed his 12-year-old niece.
He described how he told Andi "I'm gonna f*** you" before he stripped and raped her. Then he "started choking her and mashing my thumbs on her throat" until she turned blue. Later, he hid her naked body in woodland, got rid of her clothes and fled the scene.
Now, Petty has had enough. Slamming the "disgusting" system that continues to keep Roberts alive two decades since his horrendous crime, she revealed the horrific details of Andi's murder to Sun Online. "Roberts confessed he did it, but he's been on death row for 20 years."
"It was a heinous thing Roberts did," she recalls. "Andi was a little kid and she was scared and wanted to go home. When she was assaulted and brutally raped, she bit her tongue in half. That's pretty wrong... But that's the truth."
Despite the despair and anguish, Petty remembers her daughter with love.
She was just 16 when she gave birth to Andi, calling her 'Andit Bandit' fondly. Born in April 1987, Petty recalls how "she had the prettiest hands I'd ever seen, they were so dainty". Andi was funny, strong-willed and a mischevious child, her mother recalls.
But, at the age of ten, she decided she wanted to live with her father Greg, who had just had a new baby with his wife, as she wanted to spend more time with her baby brother. "I just want to move to Arkansas so I can spend time with my new baby brother," she had told her mother.
Her mother eventually relented and let her go. A year and a half later, she received a phone call on May 15, 1999, giving her the shocking news that Andi had vanished while babysitting her stepsiblings.
When Rebecca got there, the police, neighbours and relatives were already present. But one presence that Petty found off was of Roberts.
"I'll never ever forget seeing him. When he saw me, he just started talking. I thought it was strange how he was explaining why he was there, but I was so caught up in being concerned about Andi, it didn't register." Roberts even pretended to help in the search for Andi.
Soon after, he was identified as a suspect and confessed to killing Andi.
Petty recalls it being "another punch to the stomach" when the local sheriff broke the news that Andi was raped.
Petty is now writing an online book about Andi's painful story titled 'Stolen'. Andi's sisters Melanie and Kristin are now aged 30 and 24. Petty is married to her third husband William and has two grandchildren. "My life certainly isn't hanging on the moment Roberts takes his last breath. I'm living my life and, despite it all, I have a beautiful life."