JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – A Jacksonville man accused of raping his 16-year-old niece and killing her and her unborn child will again appear in court on Thursday.
A judge is expected to decide at some point whether past charges against Jonathan Quiles and his criminal record can be invoked in his Iyana Sawyer murder trial.
Quiles was in court two weeks ago for the first part of a so-called Williams Rule hearing to determine whether these previous allegations and crimes should be considered in an upcoming trial on unrelated charges.
Generally, prosecutors are not allowed to mention past crimes or convictions during trials. This evidence cannot be used to argue for a “propensity” for a particular crime because the defendant has been accused or convicted of something similar in the past.
Prosecutors are insisting that they be allowed to reveal Quils’ criminal history because they believe the testimony of a potential second underage victim could help in their murder case against him.
According to a 2019 arrest report, in December 2017, an unnamed girl was staying overnight at Quils’ house to babysit his 3-year-old daughter, and he woke her up in the middle of the night. and sexually beat her.
During a hearing two weeks ago, prosecutors argued that the girl’s testimony could help bring justice to Iyana Sawyer and her unborn child.
According to the report, this unknown girl told her mother about what happened a year later, around the same time that Sawyer, Quils’ niece accused of murder, disappeared.
Sawyer was last seen on December 19, 2018. According to court records, after school she drove to her uncle’s job at the junkyard on North Main Street.
Police believe the 16-year-old was shot dead and placed in a trash can that was taken to the Otis Road landfill. Investigators looked through 5,500 tons of garbage, but her body was never found.
Sawyer was five months pregnant when her family reported her missing in December of that year.
Quiles has spent the last four years in prison.
Prosecutors demand the death penalty. Quils’ trial is scheduled for September.
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