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Harrell admits guilt in Somer Thompson death

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Updated: 5/02/2013 5:03 pm
JACKSONVILLE ( -- The man accused of the murder of Somer Renee Thompson three years ago admitted in court Friday to her killing, accepting a plea deal that carries a life sentence in prison and ending a long ordeal for the girl's family.

Under the terms of the plea deal, Jarred Harrell, 26, will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for the October 2009 slaying of the 7-year-old girl. The plea deal averts the possibility of the death sentence.

When asked by the judge if he accepted the terms of the deal, Harrell, wearing shackles, replied by saying "Yes, sir." Harrell had faced several charges, including first-degree murder, kidnapping, molestation and sexual battery. He received multiple life sentences for the crimes, which will be served concurrently.

Somer vanished on Oct. 19, 2009 while walking home on Gano Avenue with her twin brother and a sister from Grove Park Elementary School. The girl's disappearance prompted a massive search by law enforcement officers and her family.

Her body was found in a south Georgia landfill two days after she disappeared. Police said she had been choked to death. During his hearing, Harrell admitted that he had asphyxiated the little girl.

Harrell had lived in the area where Somer was last seen. He was eventually taken into custody four months after the girl's death and was charged with 29 counts of child pornography. The pornography charges stemmed from materials found on a computer that contained sexually explicit images of young girls.

Hundreds of people attended the girl's funeral and the case prompted an enormous amount of outpouring from the community.

Somer's relatives, visibly sad and angry, confronted Harrell during the sentencing after the judge allowed them to address him.

"Somer was an innocent child," said Somer's mother, Diena Thompson. "Before you took her life, you took her innocence and her virginity . . . and then treated her like trash."

"Your selfish actions have forever changed so many lives," said Dawn Bruner, Somer's aunt. "You took away my right to say goodbye to my niece and left a void in my family."

"Not only did you take her light but your own," another of Somer's aunts said. "I am glad to see this part of the process behind us but in reality it will never be over." Staff Writer Alfred Charles contributed to this report.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

jbonaccorso - 2/5/2012 10:34 PM
0 Votes
You people have got to look at it this way, at least he will never see this side of the prision wall again. Unlike Casey Anthony who we all know should be in the same place right now but the prosecution over-reached and 12 people were not going to put her to death based on it. It would have been the same thing here. There are people who will not vote guilty regardless just because they are against the death penalty. If there had been a trial, and it had gone that way, he could have tied it up for 20 years with appeals and some bleeding heart jury would have reduced the sentence and given him opportunity for parole - who knows. I have no problem feeding his sorry ass as long as he is confined where he can no longer pray upon innocent children. JH, you sick evil SOB, you'd better hope they never put you in the general population! Hope you suffer miserably and pray for your own death and no one there is in any hurry.

MouseD - 2/4/2012 4:07 PM
0 Votes
Nobody in prison is going to get anywhere near him ....he will be in protective custody for many many years..costing us taxpayers double if not triple the amount a year to keep him in prison...there is no way in heck the prison is going to allow any inmate near him and face a lawsuit from his still alive lying mother...whom fled the area of jax long ago and told him in tapes to lie to cops...while talking to him on the phone when he was locked up.

Anonymous - 2/4/2012 6:40 AM
0 Votes
We are all, as decent citizens and parents, glad this piece of trash was picked up. Now we can only hope that "prison justice" prevails (remember Susan Smith?), and he gets taught a lesson he'll never forget.

therev - 2/3/2012 11:15 PM
2 Votes
Diena: When the prisoners find out what Jarred Harrell did to Summer he will become a wife to some of them. He may get aids before he is murdered by another prisoner Personally, I hope they find out and get rid of his as soon as possible. I am glad he took the plea and saved you and your children from any more sadness. I was proud of what your son said to him.

Ichabod - 2/3/2012 11:12 PM
1 Vote
You know what - Prisoners HATE child abusers. The prisoners will take care of that piece of crap. He should have just asked for the Death Penalty with quick execution. That guy will suffer and he will suffer horribly both mentally and physically and he absolutely deserves every agony that he is going to get!

pitbullslovers - 2/3/2012 10:22 PM
1 Vote
This story is just plain wrong! Why did he ahve to do this I thinki he just needs to die so thi doesnt happen to anymore girls. Summer is so beatuful and young. He should be like Casey Anthony the most hated man in Americ.. He is the mosst hated man and Casey is the woman the most hated couple is Right here

calvin1972 - 2/3/2012 10:14 PM
2 Votes
He got off easy giving him six life sentence. They should give him the death penalty and learn to suffer for what he has done. He will burn for this.

ladybug12277 - 2/3/2012 5:49 PM
1 Vote
Harrell should never have had a plea deal. Any one person that takes a child from their family does not deserve to live. Somer was a beautiful little girl so full of life and Harrell took it from her. Now Harrell wants to be able to live the rest of his life out granted it is in prison, but he should not be aloud at all. What is really wrong with this picture. This monster needs to go to HECK and he has his place with the downstairs where he really belongs!!!!

Girochin007 - 2/3/2012 5:43 PM
1 Vote
I did hope they would have given him the death sentence... Until I found out they retired the electric chair. I think life in prison is better so he can suffer. Does anyone really want his punishment to be lethal injection??? I think going peacefully to sleep is too good for him, and much prefer to think of him rotting away in prison. I hope they stick him in general population.

melton07 - 2/3/2012 5:31 PM
1 Vote
Harrel may ot have received the death penalty, but you better believe that without protective custody, he;s a dead man walking. not even the worst prisoners put up with someone like that. But to Somers family you will always have her in your hearts, thats more than I can say for him. So stay strong and be brave judgement is upon him, its only a matter of time. may God bles your family.
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