- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

GOSNELL, Ark. (AP) - Prosecutors say 18-year-old Christopher Sowell is no longer a suspect in the murder of 11-year-old Jessica Williams.

The Jonesboro Sun (https://bit.ly/1Etir2B ) reports that DNA evidence presented to prosecutors indicates the 18-year-old was not involved in the girl’s murder. The murder charge against Sowell was dropped on Feb. 11.

Williams was found dead in a waterway near Big Lake in rural Mississippi County in 2013. The newspaper reports that Sowell confessed to the crime, but authorities continued to question the connection between the two. Prosecutor Scott Ellington refused to comment on Sowell’s false confession and said the investigation is ongoing.

In October, 30-year-old Freddie Sharp was convicted of raping Williams after the DNA evidence was matched to him. He is currently serving a 25-year sentence for the crime. Ellington has not named Sharp as a suspect in Williams’ murder.

“There was reason to initially believe that Christopher Sowell may have been involved in the murder of Jessica Williams… Two things became clear following the Freddie Sharp rape trial,” Ellington said. “Mr. Sowell was not involved in the murder of Jessica Williams, and his original statement did not square with the scientific evidence in this case.”

Although the case against Sowell has been dropped, Ellington still hopes to convict Williams’ killer.

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Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, https://www.jonesborosun.com


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