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Sydney Sutherland Defendant Admitted to Killing Her and ‘Messing’ with Body, But Wasn’t Insane: Psychologist


Quake Lewellyn

A psychologist who analyzed Quake Lewellyn, the defendant in the alleged murder of Arkansas woman Sydney Sutherland, did not show signs of metal disease or defect, according to court documents released on Friday.

It’s a dud for the defense, who requested the analysis in the first place. The defendant, who is charged with killing and with raping her, vaguely confessed, as indicated in the analyst’s account. He allegedly asserted he accidentally hit her with his vehicle, and acknowledged “messing” with her body.

“It is my opinion that Mr. Lewellyn was capable of forming the necessary mental state required as an element of the offense charged,” wrote Lacey C. Willett, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, in the filing obtained by Law&Crime.

Deputies already said that Lewellyn confessed in a post-Miranda interview. He admitted to hitting Sutherland with his pick up truck, put her in the vehicle, raped her, and buried her, according to the law enforcement account.

His story is a little more detailed but perhaps more confusing in the psychological report. In this version of events, Lewellyn, a farmer, said he remembered driving to check wells and the rice fields he tended. That’s when he saw Sutherland walking down the gravel road. He claimed to have driven past her, and turned around. Lewellyn allegedly asserted he couldn’t see her anymore because the road was still dusty. He allegedly suggested that Sutherland might have crossed the road, and that he hit her with his truck.

“I felt her hit my truck, so I slowed down,” he said.

Lewellyn allegedly claimed to ask if she was okay but she did not answer. In the interview, he allegedly voiced concern that he would get in trouble for running her over, so he put her in his truck and drove her to a rice field, where he dug a hole.

The defendant allegedly confessed to removing the victim’s clothes, and that he “tried messing with her a bit.” He was asked for clarification, but the report notes that the attorneys present told him not to talk about that any more.

In any case, Lewellyn allegedly admitted to burying the body, going back to work, eating dinner at home, and going to bed. He “just tried to forget about it,” and “went to work just like normal” the following day” according to this version of events.

Mere presence of mental illness is not enough to buttress an insanity defense, though that’s a moot point in the Lewellyn case. Willett’s analysis also focused on whether the defendant lacked the capacity to “appreciate the criminality of his conduct,” lacked the ability to confirm his conduct to the law, and lacked the capacity to form the required mental state relevant to the laws at play. Willett reported nothing irregular. For example, Lewellyn said he had no symptoms of mental illness during the crime. Also, Willett wrote that the defendant hid the body, so he knew what he did could result in legal problems.

He was able to control his behavior, even continuing to work, then later having dinner with his family, and then speaking to a police officer on the phone. At the time of the incident, the defendant discussed doing what the analyst described as “purposeful, goal-directed behaviors” on the day of the incident, such as checking wells.

You can read the report here:

Quake Lewellyn – Crminal Responsibility Evaluation Report by Law&Crime on Scribd

[Mugshot via Jackson County Sheriff’s Office]

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