JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville man was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his 16-year-old pregnant niece.
Investigators say Johnathan Quiles raped, impregnated, and killed his 16-year-old niece and her unborn child. Quiles was also found guilty of sexual battery.
Quiles shot 16-year-old Iyana Sawyer in December 2018 and then left her body in a dumpster, investigators say. Her body has never been found, even after a landfill was searched in 2019.
Iyana disappeared before Christmas break in December 2018.
Throughout closing arguments, the state really focused on Snapchat messages that they said were between Quiles and Iyana, showing they were in an inappropriate relationship as well as saying they had other evidence proving Iyana is dead.
The defense said there were too many inconsistencies and there wasn’t any way to prove Quiles killed Iyana. They asked the jury to pay attention to the witness testimonies and evidence.
The jury deliberated for about an hour and a half on Thursday afternoon.
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Sawyer’s family released the following statement after the verdict:
“Today, a nearly 5-year nightmare ends with another measure of justice. We thank the jury, the attorneys, law enforcement and judge, as well as all of our friends and family who reached out when we needed it most. Jonathan Quiles has now been found guilty of murder and will go back before a jury to determine his fate on earth, but he chose to end Iyana’s young life. He was a predator and the jury saw that with ease. We are grateful. Please keep our family in your prayers. Thank you from the family of Iyana Sawyer.”
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