Man charged in death of pregnant teenage niece fighting death penalty

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Back in 2019, Johnathan Quiles was accused and later indicted for sexual battery and the murder of his 16-year-old niece, Iyana Sawyer.

Sawyer was last seen at Terry Parker High School in December of 2018. Investigators said she was five months pregnant.

This week, court records show Quiles filed four motions fighting Florida’s death penalty. Those include motions to declare Florida’s death penalty unconstitutional, another that requests no execution by lethal injection, and another that asks the judge to clear him of the crime.

Action News Jax has been following Sawyer’s story since 2018. Sources told Action News Jax that Quiles confessed to his involvement in her disappearance.

According to documents, people close to Quiles and Sawyer suspected they were involved in an inappropriate relationship. Investigators believe Quiles killed his niece at his place of work -- Ace Pick A Part on Main Street -- then disposed of her body in a dumpster.

Despite searching a landfill, her body has never been recovered.

The state is seeking the death penalty, and Quiles has pleaded not guilty.

Action News Jax has requested the four documents filed by Quiles.

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