Sydney Sutherland: Slain nurse's family ecstatic after suspect Quake Lewellyn is declared mentally fit for trial
'Everybody's anxious but ready to get the ball rolling so we can get our justice for her,' said Sutherland's long-term boyfriend's mom
JACKSON COUNTY, ARKANSAS: Farmer Quake Lewellyn, 28, who has been charged with murdering and raping nurse Sydney Sutherland, was found mentally fit to stand trial, leading the nurse's family to be "ecstatic" but "anxious" for the trial. Lewellyn reportedly confessed to murdering the female jogger and was "familiar" with her.
Last week, a state psychologist found that Lewellyn is mentally fit to stand trial for the death of 25-year-old Sutherland, who vanished while jogging in August 2020. During the mental health examination, he admitted that he killed the victim and that after killing her, he tried "messing with" her corpse, then went home, ate dinner, and "just tried to forget about it."
Lewellyn, a married stepfather of three, reportedly told psychologist Lacey Willett, "It was all just a blur." He had spotted Sutherland walking down a gravel road when he was driving to check some wells and rice fields. He confessed that he drove past her, turned around, and struck her with his truck, unable to see her in a cloud of dust. He said that he walked over to see if Sutherland was okay and believed she was dead at that point. He said he was "scared and afraid [he] was gonna be in trouble for running her over."
According to The Sun, Amy Lovins, the mother of Sydney's long-term boyfriend, Alex Nicholson, branded Lewellyn an "evil b******," saying, "It was really going to shock me if they found him not able to stand trial, but I was not surprised his lawyers did that, when I heard it, it just burned me up to my core." Lovins said, "I would give anything if she was still here, we're not going to quit fighting, she had such a bright future."
She continued, "We are just ecstatic about the mental evaluation [decision], that has been a huge relief, and like things are finally going in our favor." Lovins told the publication that Sutherland's mother, Maggy Sutherland was happy with the psychologist's finding and that it was "a big load off everyone's shoulders." Lovins said, "Everybody's anxious but ready to get the ball rolling so we can get our justice for her."
Lovins, who attended the initial court hearing, also said that Lewellyn refused to look at the family, but that she will be there to face him again at the trial. She said, "He never looked at us, but I want to face him, I wanted him to look at us, it just doesn't seem like he's had any remorse so far."
Willett wrote in her report, "It is my opinion that at the time of the alleged conduct, Mr. Lewellyn did not manifest symptoms of a mental disease or mental defect," and noted that Lewellyn "did not lack the capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct." The report indicated that he had no history of mental health treatment and did not mention any bizarre speech or conduct during his interview with the police.
Lewellyn was polite and cooperative and he maintained adequate attention and concentration throughout the evaluation, according to the report.