Duval County

Judge to decide if past crimes of man accused of killing niece can be heard at trial

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A judge is set to decide Monday whether a man accused of raping and killing his niece will have his past accusations and crimes referenced during his trial.


Johnathan Quiles is accused of killing his 16-year-old niece Iyana Sawyer and her unborn child in December 2018.

Typically during trials, past crimes and accusations aren’t mentioned, but according to Williams Rule, which is a Florida statute, past crimes can be brought up to show motive in certain situations. The judge preceding the case will ultimately decide if the statute applies at a hearing today.

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Quiles’ criminal history began in 2017 when he was accused of sexually assaulting an unknown minor in December of 2017.

The unnamed girl spent the night at Quiles’ house to babysit his then 3-year-old daughter, and she said that is when he assaulted her. The girl told her mom about the incident a year after it occurred, according to Quiles’ arrest report. Police now believe this unidentified girl was Iyana Sawyer.

Read: Man charged in death of pregnant niece receives new charges in sexual battery case

Around the same time the report was filed, went missing. She was last seen on Dec. 19, 2018, traveling to her uncle’s job at a salvage yard on North Main Street after leaving school. Her body was never found, but police believe she was shot dead and he body dumped at Otis Road Landfill.

Quiles has been in Duval County Jail for the past four years and is facing the death penalty. His hearing today is set for 1:30 p.m.

Action News Jax will continue to follow the story and update you as events unfold.

Read: Man charged in death of pregnant teenage niece fighting death penalty

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