Jarred Harrell pleads guilty in murder of Florida girl Somer Thompson

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Normal Authorities said she was asphyxiated and tossed into a trash bin, but they did not give many details about her death

Post by Nama on Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:43 pm

A 7-year-old Florida girl whose body was discovered in a Georgia landfill was walking home from school when she was lured into a home by a 24-year-old man and sexually assaulted before being killed, Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said Friday.
Jarred Mitchell Harrell, who was already in jail on dozens of child pornography charges, was charged with premeditated murder in the death of Somer Thompson. Authorities said she was asphyxiated and tossed into a trash bin, but they did not give many details about her death.
Harrell also faces charges of lewd and lascivious battery and sexual battery.
Somer, an elementary school student who loved the color purple and the song "You are My Sunshine," went missing Oct. 19. Her body was found two days later in a Georgia landfill about 50 miles from her north Florida home.
During a press conference at the same church where Somer's memorial service was held, Beseler said detectives used DNA evidence, witnesses and statements from Harrell himself to solve the case.
"Our collective resolve to bring Somer's killer to justice is the only light in the darkness caused by this tragedy," Beseler said as about 50 members of "Team Somer" — the sheriff's office investigators and staff who worked the case — stood by.
Harrell, who is being held at the Clay County Jail, has been in custody since Feb. 11, when authorities arrested him in Mississippi on child pornography charges in Florida.
His relatives have said they don't believe he is capable of violence. It is unclear whether he has an attorney. Messages left at the public defender's office were not immediately returned.
Prosecutors can seek the death penalty in this case, but they have not said whether they will do so.
Clay County detectives said at the time of Somer's disappearance, Harrell was living at his parents' suburban Jacksonville home, near her home and school.
Beseler said Somer was not in Harrell's parents' home for long. "I believe it was something that went rather quickly," he said.
He didn't want to reveal details about the case, for fear of jeopardizing the trial.
"We are confident Jarred Harrell committed this crime," Beseler said.
After Somer vanished, investigators interviewed all known sex offenders within a 5-mile radius of her home. On a hunch, they tailed nine garbage trucks from her neighborhood to the landfill and picked through the trash as each rig spilled its load and sorted through more than 225 tons of garbage before they spotted her legs sticking out of the trash.
The discovery of Somer's body touched off an outpouring of support in northeast Florida and southern Georgia for the Thompson family; days of vigils and fundraisers were held so Somer's mom, Diena Thompson, could financially afford to stay home with her other children. A mountain of stuffed animals, balloons and notes to the family sprung up near a tree across from the little girl's home.
Harrell had come to the attention of law enforcement in August, two months before Somer disappeared. His roommates said they kicked him out for stealing and they discovered child pornography. It was soon turned over to investigators.
The parents of one the roommates drove by Harrell's parents' home a few days after Somer disappeared and noticed how close they lived to the girl's house. When they saw Harrell's car in his parents' driveway, they told detectives.
He was arrested Feb. 11 on child pornography charges at an aunt's home in Meridian, Miss., where he had moved a few weeks earlier. He was then called only a person of interest in Somer's slaying.
The sheriff's office has said Harrell wasn't arrested earlier because detectives had to prove Harrell downloaded the child porn.
Harrell was charged with 29 counts of possessing child pornography in Florida, then charged with a dozen additional counts of child porn and child molestation.
At the time of his February arrest, Harrell's aunt said she didn't think her nephew was capable of violence.
"They tried to make it sound like he's some monster, but he's not," said Kriss Mizelle, who let Harrell stay with her in Meridian. "I could say all these good things about him, but nobody wants to hear that. They think you're delusional and don't know about his secret life, but he's a good kid."
Harrell was originally from Lucedale, Miss., and was home-schooled before moving to Florida. He worked various jobs, from cooking to retail, Mizelle said. Friends described him as a "computer wiz."

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Normal Re: Jarred Harrell pleads guilty in murder of Florida girl Somer Thompson

Post by laga on Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:46 pm

He is not going to hurt anyone else every again.

Somer's mother seems a very strong person, I'm just sorry she needs to be, to endure what she has had to. I know she must be thankful that LE and circumstances worked to find her body, and so soon that there was evidence to catch the guilty.

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Normal Arrest Record on this link

Post by Nama on Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:17 pm

Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler announced on Friday that 24-year-old Jarred Mitchell Harrell has been charged with the murder of 7-year-old Somer Thompson.

The announcement was made in the gymnasium of the First Baptist Church of Orange Park.

Somer Thompson disappeared on Oct. 19, 2009 as she was walking home from school. Her body was found two days later in a Georgia landfill.

Harrell has been in custody since Feb. 11, 2010 when authorities arrested him in Mississippi on child pornography charges in Florida. Harrell was then extradited to Florida.

Thompson was last spotted in front of 1080 Gano Avenue, just a few blocks from her home ( see map below).

Detectives say Harrell was living at his parents' home near Somer's school and house when she went missing.

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Normal Re: Jarred Harrell pleads guilty in murder of Florida girl Somer Thompson

Post by Guest on Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:35 pm

WOW!!! i am SO SO SO grateful that there is SOMETHING going on - this guy is MONSTER!!! i am so thankful that Somer is not going to end up as an unsolved case and that we WILL see justice served for Somer - I hope that her mother is able to find some peace - i know that she has been wrongly accused of horrible things by ppl in the media and such - but I personally that what happened could have happened anywhere anytime... are there things that she could have done differently - of course!!! but I just didn't agree w/ ppl lashing out at her - not here or anywhere else on crime blogs - but ppl in the media, and spec. her ex husband... Dana was a victim in this as well, and I will NEVER FORGET the raw emotion that she showed the day somer was found - it broke my heart!! God rest your little soul Somer, it's gonna be okay now....
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Normal Re: Jarred Harrell pleads guilty in murder of Florida girl Somer Thompson

Post by TerryRose on Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:12 pm

Glad they got him! Give him his day in court, then remove him from our society permanently!
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Normal Somer's Mom To Man Charged With Murder: "We Got You"

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:41 pm

Posted: 7:06 am EDT March 26,2010Updated: 6:29 pm EDT March 26,2010

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- A 7-year-old Florida girl whose body was discovered in a Georgia landfill was walking home from school when she was lured into a home by a 24-year-old man and sexually assaulted before being killed, Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said Friday.

Jarred Mitchell Harrell, who was already in jail on dozens of child pornography charges, was charged with premeditated murder in the death of Somer Thompson. Authorities said she was asphyxiated and tossed into a trash bin, but they did not give many details about her death.

Harrell also faces charges of lewd and lascivious battery and sexual battery.

SOMER'S MOM: Speaks Out At Press Conference
NEWS CONFERENCE: Man Charged In Girl's Death
DOCUMENT: Jarred Harrell's Arrest Report
VIDEO REPORT: Man Charged With Girl's Murder
IMAGES: Photos Of Somer Thompson

Somer, an elementary school student who loved the color purple and the song "You are My Sunshine," went missing Oct. 19. Her body was found two days later in a Georgia landfill about 50 miles from her north Florida home.

During a press conference at the same church where Somer's memorial service was held, Beseler said detectives used DNA evidence, witnesses and statements from Harrell himself to solve the case.

"Our collective resolve to bring Somer's killer to justice is the only light in the darkness caused by this tragedy," Beseler said as about 50 members of "Team Somer" -- the sheriff's office investigators and staff who worked the case -- stood by.

Somer's mother, Diena Thompson, spoke to the media soon after the arrest announcement was made.

"I've waited 158 days to find out who did this to my child," said Thompson. "Who could do this?"

Diena Thompson also said, "We got you and you ain't getting away."

Harrell, who is being held at the Clay County Jail, has been in custody since Feb. 11, when authorities arrested him in Mississippi on child pornography charges in Florida.

His relatives have said they don't believe he is capable of violence. It is unclear whether he has an attorney. Messages left at the public defender's office were not immediately returned.

Prosecutors can seek the death penalty in this case, but they have not said whether they will do so.

Diena Thompson said she would support prosecutors' efforts to seek the death penalty against Harrell.

"A monster. That's all this person is, a monster," she said.

Clay County detectives said at the time of Somer's disappearance, Harrell was living at his parents' suburban Jacksonville home, near her home and school.

Beseler said Somer was not in Harrell's parents' home for long.

"I believe it was something that went rather quickly," he said.

He didn't want to reveal details about the case, for fear of jeopardizing the trial.

"We are confident Jarred Harrell committed this crime," Beseler said.

After Somer vanished, investigators interviewed all known sex offenders within a 5-mile radius of her home. On a hunch, they tailed nine garbage trucks from her neighborhood to the landfill and picked through the trash as each rig spilled its load and sorted through more than 225 tons of garbage before they spotted her legs sticking out of the trash.

The discovery of Somer's body touched off an outpouring of support in northeast Florida and southern Georgia for the Thompson family; days of vigils and fundraisers were held so Somer's mom, Diena Thompson, could financially afford to stay home with her other children. A mountain of stuffed animals, balloons and notes to the family sprung up near a tree across from the little girl's home.

Harrell had come to the attention of law enforcement in August, two months before Somer disappeared. His roommates said they kicked him out for stealing and they discovered child pornography. It was soon turned over to investigators.

The parents of one the roommates drove by Harrell's parents' home a few days after Somer disappeared and noticed how close they lived to the girl's house. When they saw Harrell's car in his parents' driveway, they told detectives.

He was arrested Feb. 11 on child pornography charges at an aunt's home in Meridian, Miss., where he had moved a few weeks earlier. He was then called only a person of interest in Somer's slaying.

The sheriff's office has said Harrell wasn't arrested earlier because detectives had to prove Harrell downloaded the child porn.

Harrell was charged with 29 counts of possessing child pornography in Florida, then charged with a dozen additional counts of child porn and child molestation.

At the time of his February arrest, Harrell's aunt said she didn't think her nephew was capable of violence.

"They tried to make it sound like he's some monster, but he's not," said Kriss Mizelle, who let Harrell stay with her in Meridian. "I could say all these good things about him, but nobody wants to hear that. They think you're delusional and don't know about his secret life, but he's a good kid."

Harrell was originally from Lucedale, Miss., and was home-schooled before moving to Florida. He worked various jobs, from cooking to retail, Mizelle said. Friends described him as a "computer wiz."

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Normal Somer Thompson case: State to seek death penalty against accused murderer Jarred Harrell

Post by Nama on Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:50 pm

Last week a Clay County, Fla. grand jury indicted suspected child killer Jarred Harrell on four counts related to the Somer Thompson case. The state attorney also announced she will seek the death penalty for Harrell.
Harrell is scheduled to be in court next week for his arraignment.

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Normal Jarred Harrell in Court for Hearing in Somer Thompson Case, Pleads Not Guilty

Post by Nama on Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:17 pm

The man accused of sexually assaulting and killing 7-year-old Somer Thompson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Jarred Harrell entered the plea in a brief hearing Thursday morning. He is being held without bail.

Harrell now faces first degree murder, kidnapping, sexual battery, and lewd or lascivious battery charges, the judge said.

He was arrested in Mississippi in early February and charged with 29 counts of child pornography, then extradited to Clay County to face those charges.

At the time of the arrest, Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler referred to Harrell as a "person of interest" in the October kidnapping and killing of Somer as she walked home from school in Orange Park.

Last week, a jury indicted Harrell on the four counts related to her death, and today's court appearance was to make the charges official.

Harrell remains in jail, and will be in court for another pretrial hearing April 26.

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Normal Re: Jarred Harrell pleads guilty in murder of Florida girl Somer Thompson

Post by Guest on Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:35 pm



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Normal Hal - The TV Guy

Post by Nama on Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:57 pm

20/20′ to devote full hour to Somer Thompson

Chris Cuomo, anchor of “20/20,” is the reporter. The program airs at 10 p.m. Friday on WFTV-Channel 9.

Somer, a 7-year-old from Orange Park, was reported missing in October on her way home from school. Two days later, her body was found in a Georgia landfill.

Last month, Jarred Mitchell Harrell was charged with premeditated murder in her death.

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Normal Re: Jarred Harrell pleads guilty in murder of Florida girl Somer Thompson

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:30 pm

Thanks so much, BJ. W/set up the tivo for this.

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Normal Jarred Harrell tells cops he was at Gano Avenue home day Somer Thompson vanished

Post by Nama on Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:30 pm

The man charged with killing Somer Thompson told police he was at his mother's Orange Park home the afternoon investigators said Somer died there, according to 125 pages of police reports and other records released Thursday.

What Jarred Harrell may know about the 7-year-old's slaying will likely remain secret until his trial, since authorities redacted portions of his statements to police. The State Attorney's Office cited several public records exemptions for the redactions, including one that protects details of confessions.

Harrell, 24, was charged March 26 in Somer's slaying. She vanished Oct. 19 while walking home on Gano Avenue after leaving school. Her body was found in a Georgia landfill two days later. Sheriff Rick Beseler has said that evidence against Harrell includes statements he'd previously made to police.

Harrell was first jailed in Mississippi Feb. 11 on unrelated child pornography charges. The charges stemmed from a case opened in August when Harrell's former roommates gave police a computer and discs they said he used to store graphic images of young girls. The released records involved that case but also included new details about Somer's death.

Harrell once lived with his mother and stepfather at 1152 Gano Ave., which was along Somer's route home. About a week after her disappearance, police were alerted to Harrell's use of the home when the parents one of the former roommates told deputies they spotted his car there.

The parents and roommates knew Harrell once lived at the home. They were suspicious of his possible involvement in Somer's disappearance because of his connection to child pornography, they told police.

The records show detectives first interviewed Harrell on Oct. 30 in Somer's case. He allowed them to search the home and property, but they spotted nothing suspicious.
Harrell said he had been with his mother between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on the day Somer disappeared, including time they spent at the home helping her back for a move to Callahan. Somer was last seen in the neighborhood about 2:45 p.m.

Harrell's mother, Annis Dailey, told police she was with him, apparently at the home, between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., the records show. She said they left together, gassed up their vehicles, had dinner at a McDonald's and split up about 5:30 p.m. In a jail call between them months later in Mississippi, Dailey told her son she would provide him an alibi in Somer's case.

No other details of the Oct. 30 interview were included in the records.

The records include some exchanges between detectives and Harrell after his Feb. 11 arrest in Mississippi. At one point, Harrell agrees to view a pornographic picture of a girl and said he recognized her from a Web site.

"Jarred Harrell realized that he was admitting to having viewed child pornography and changed the subject," the records state.

Harrell freely spoke to detectives about the charges he faced during his ride from Mississippi to Clay County and when he arrived, but summaries of those discussions are redacted.

The records offer some insight into work done in the child pornography case, which has been the subject of some criticism since Harrell wasn't charged in that until well after Somer was killed. Beseler has said plenty of work needed to be done before an arrest in the child pornography case.

The records show that Harrell claimed one of his roommates, who kicked him out over a theft allegation, could have set him up by downloading the pornography onto his computer. One of the roommates gave inexplicably deceptive responses when asked during a polygraph if he transferred pornography onto Harrell's computer, the records show.

Among the other records released Thursday were entries Harrell and his friends made on his Myspace.com page. Under his profile, he said he drinks, smokes and is undecided about having children. He lists horror flicks among his favorite movies and CSI among his favorite TV shows. Of books, he wrote, "I don't read much."

Harrell's last login was on Nov. 12, more than three weeks after Somer's death. He lists his mood as tired.

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Normal The Twisted Course of an Alleged Pedophile Jarred Harrell Was Taken From Mother at Age 3 After Court Found Her Unfit

Post by Nama on Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:37 pm

The report that 7-year-old Somer Thompson's body had been discovered in a landfill shook the town of Orange Park, Fla., to the core.

Mom recalls terror of hours following daughter's failure to return from school.

The little girl had disappeared walking home from school two days earlier. Police quickly came to believe that the killer lived in the seemingly typical suburban neighborhood.

It would take five months, more than 4,000 leads and several blind alleys before police would hone in on someone who had been brought to their attention even before Somer had disappeared.

Twenty-four year-old Jarred Harrell, who lived just a few houses from where Somer was last seen, is now charged with first-degree murder in her death. A month earlier, Harrell had been arrested and charged with dozens of counts of possessing and producing child pornography and molesting a different young girl. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

"You would look at this guy and you'd say ... big, gentle giant," a family friend, Rod Buchannan, told ABC News. "Wouldn't hurt a flea. He was very polite, very nice, you know."

But after his arrest, Harrell's family background began to unfold, and soon a different picture emerged.

Jarred Harrell: Family Secrets
Twenty-one years ago, Harrell's mother, Annis Dailey, made headlines of her own when she fell under the spell of her much older employer, Joe Newman, a married man, self-professed inventor and "messenger of God."

Among the messages he claimed to have received from God was an order to marry Annis -- and her 8-year-old daughter as well.

"God spoke to me the morning of Feb. 13, 1989, telling me to marry [the girl] which is exactly five months to the day that Hurricane Gilbert became the greatest hurricane of the century..." Newman was quoted as saying by Mississippi's Georgia County Times. "God has chosen [the girl] and Annis and Ellen [Newman's wife] in a special way to glorify God's word and righteousness."

Newman claimed God would tell him when to consummate the "marriage" with the little girl.

The tabloid Weekly World News ran a feature on the couple. "Everything that's happened, God has a definite purpose to it," Annis was quoted as saying. "It's taken a genius like Joe to lead it."

Jarred Harrell was 3 years old at the time. A Mississippi court ruled Annis an unfit mother and removed the children.

Six years later, Annis regained custody of her children, but relatives say things were never stable very long.

Records show that Harrell's mother had at least 56 different addresses in almost as many cities while Harrell was growing up. She has been married four times, filed for bankruptcy three times, has been evicted from at least one home and was found guilty of grand theft after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from an employer.

But by last year, there were signs that Annis Dailey was turning her life around. Her business profile for the Amelia Island Chamber of Commerce boasts of a loving family. Her husband, General Dailey, had recently been featured in the local media for his Good Samaritan work organizing volunteers during emergencies.


Jarred Harrell: A Picture in Contrasts
At 24 years old, Jarred Harrell still lived with his mother and depended on her financially.

Relatives say Harrell had always been overweight and slow in school, and had often been picked on, even by his two younger step-brothers.

A MySpace profile Harrell kept showed glimpses of someone who can't take it anymore, seemingly wanting revenge.

The song that topped Harrell's playlist was "Waking the Demon" by Bullet for My Valentine. In the song, a victim of bullying is transformed by blind rage and viciously attacks and kills his tormentor.

Was it a peek into the mind of someone who was about to snap -- or nothing more than average teenage angst?

Jarred Harrell: Warning Signs
It turns out police had been tipped off about Harrell's alleged interest in child pornography two months before Somer disappeared.

Lisa and Rod Buchannan knew Harrell through his stepfather, who was active in their church. In the summer of 2008, when Annis asked whether Harrell could move into an apartment complex with the Buchannans' daughter, Katie, and her fiance, the Buchannans agreed.

But the arrangement didn't last long.

"Things turned up missing" within a month or two, Rod Buchannan told ABC News' Chris Cuomo. Katie and her fiance said that one night they found their iPod in Harrell's car.

"Being that he was a family friend, they give him an option," Buchannan said. "Get your stuff, get out right now, middle of the night -- or we call the police and put you in jail."

The Buchannans say Harrell left -- but he left behind his computer.

That was a mistake. Buchannan's son knew a dark secret about what might be on Harrell's computer. He told his sister.

"So they decided to search the computer at that point," Rod Buchannan said. "And that's when they found -- I mean, it was right there on the desktop. There was no effort made whatsoever to hide the material."

The Buchannan siblings told their parents they had found child pornography on Harrell's computer -- a lot of it.

"Stuff that our children shouldn't have seen," Rod Buchannan said. "Should have never had to see."


Rod Buchannan took his wife and daughter to the police to turn over the computer. He said that Katie told police she feared that Harrell might have known some of the children in the pictures.

Harrell had plenty of access to kids. He babysat his sister's children. His sister ran a business selling toddler items out of her home. They lived in a neighborhood filled with young kids.

As it turned out, Katie Buchannan's fears were justified, authorities say. After Harrell's arrest, police said, they found his camera. It had more photos and a video on it of a 3-year-old child whom Harrell knew, they said.

Somer's Mom: 'I Don't Feel Sorry for Him'
After Harrell was arrested, Cuomo asked Somer Thompson's mother, Diena Thompson, about her feelings about the murder suspect. Did it help her understand how Harrell got to the point he allegedly did?

"No," Thompson said. "I don't feel sorry for him. You make choices in life. And all of us go through trials and tribulations. ... I have been through similar circumstances in my life, and I'm not killing, raping, stealing children.

"You make choices to do things different. Stop the cycle, end the abuse, don't do this."


Watch the full story on "20/20" Friday at 10 p.m.

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Normal Re: Jarred Harrell pleads guilty in murder of Florida girl Somer Thompson

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:33 pm

http://www.news4jax.com/video/23167993/index.html
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- New documents released Thursday by the state attorney's office reveal what Jarred Harrell told detectives he was doing the October afternoon that Somer Thompson disappeared. Her body was found in a Georgia landfill two days after she vanished.

Last week, Harrell, 24, pleaded not guilty to first-degree kidnapping, sexual battery and murder charges in connection with the disappearance and death of Somer.

Harrell also faces dozens of charges of child pornography unconnected to the abduction and homicide case.

Channel 4's lead investigator Jennifer Waugh pored over 119 pages of court papers. Nearly all of them were related to the 29 counts of child pornography charges Harrell is facing. The documents also reveal detectives interviewed him seven days after Somer disappeared. Somer Thompson was last seen walking home from school around 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19. Detectives asked Harrell where he was between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. that day.

Detectives interviewed Harrell at the home on Gano Avenue in Orange Park where he lived with his mother and stepfather. Months later, that home was searched by federal investigators. The documents showed that detectives said Harrell told them he was helping his mother pack up that day because she was moving to Callahan. He said that she was with him between 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. that afternoon and that she left for their new home in Callahan.

The papers revealed the same detective that interviewed Harrell also called Harrell's mother and that she gave him the same information. She said Harrell was with her between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. that day. She also said they left her Gano Avenue home together, got gas for the car, and had dinner at McDonald's before she drove to her home in Callahan. She said she left her son around 5:30 p.m. that day.

According to the court documents, Harrell continued to live at the Gano Avenue home for at least a week after Somer disappeared. Sheriff Rick Beseler of the Clay County Sheriff's Office said there is evidence that links Harrell to Somer's death.
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Normal Re: Jarred Harrell pleads guilty in murder of Florida girl Somer Thompson

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:40 am

I was out this evening & missed the 20/20 program - is there a link for it?
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Normal Re: Jarred Harrell pleads guilty in murder of Florida girl Somer Thompson

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:08 am

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Normal Re: Jarred Harrell pleads guilty in murder of Florida girl Somer Thompson

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:03 pm

Thanks Lindamarie!
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Normal Harrell To Appear In Court On Somer Charges on 4/28

Post by Nama on Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:52 am

Diena Thompson was disappointed at not being able to see for the first time the man investigators believe abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered her 7-year-old daughter, but she remained stalwart as she left the Clay County Court House.

“I just want to see him,” Thompson said. “I want him to know I’m going to be in his face every day.”

Thompson and her parents, Phillip and Debbie Bowling, had been sitting in the front row of a Clay County courtroom for at least 45 minutes on Monday, April 26, when they heard Circuit Judge John Skinner grant a public defender’s request to reschedule a pre-trial hearing for Jarred Harrell, who police say abducted – then killed -- Somer Thompson on her way home from school on Oct. 19.

The 24-year-old man is now scheduled to appear in court at 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28. He is facing charges of premeditated murder, sexual battery on a victim younger than 12 and lewd and lascivious battery in a case that has ripped at the heartstrings of an entire community since the child’s body was found at a Georgia landfill on Oct. 21.

Harrell has pleaded not guilty, and is being held in the Clay County Jail on $1.6 million bond after being extradited on Feb. 24 from Meridian, Miss., on 29 counts of possession of child pornography and related charges. He already had been named as a person of interest in Somer’s disappearance, and formally was charged with her murder while in custody on March 26.

Somer’s mother and the slain child’s grandparents say Harrell’s trial can’t come soon enough, but they have mixed emotions about seeing Somer’s suspected killer for the first time.

“There’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for this,” Diena said as she and her parents sat in the front row of the court room. “I don’t like any of this – just waiting around. I’ve got butterflies in my stomach.”

Her father said he is bracing himself for a lengthy trial.

“We’ll see how slow the system works,” he said.

Though she has seen photos of Harrell, Diena’s mother said she was disappointed at not being able to see her granddaughter’s suspected killer in person.

“I’m looking forward to Wednesday,” she said. “We’ll finally get to see a face -- a real face.”

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Normal Somer's Mother Attends Jarred Harrell Hearing

Post by Nama on Sat May 01, 2010 11:57 pm

Somer Thompson's mother saw Jarred Harrell face-to-face in court for the first time Thursday.
Somer disappeared Oct. 19 from her neighborhood in Orange Park. Her body was found two days later in a landfill in Folkston, Ga.

"It was hard to keep myself in the seat and not want to something to him," Diena Thompson said.
Thompson fought back tears as she watched the defense file three motion in a pretrial hearing for Harrell.
"He's so much of a coward that he can't even turn around and look at the mother of the child that he murdered," Thompson said.
The three motions, to preserve evidence, officer's notes and a protective order, were denied.

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Normal Prosecutors To Seek Death For Harrell

Post by Nama on Thu May 20, 2010 8:46 pm

Prosecutors told Jarred Harrell's lawyers Thursday morning that they will seek the death penalty if he's convicted of killing 7-year-old Somer Thompson.
Harrell was not in court when lawyers met Thursday in Clay County.
His next court appearance is scheduled for June 24.
The 24-year-old is accused of kidnapping and killing the Orange Park girl on her way home from school in October.

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Normal Jarred Harrell Absent From Pretrial Hearing

Post by Nama on Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:06 am

Jarred Harrell, the man accused of killing 7-year-old Somer Thompson, did not appear at a pretrial hearing Thursday morning.
A prosecutor told the judge depositions in Somer's murder case are under way.
Diena Thompson, Somer's mother, was in the courtroom for the hearing. When Harrell's name was called, she closed her eyes, leaned her head on her father's shoulder and cried softly.

Somer Thompson disappeared as she walked home from school on Oct. 19. Her body was found two days later in the Georgia landfill where Orange Park's trash is dumped.
Thompson said investigators have not told her anything about evidence in the case, but she doesn't expect them to.
She said she has "full faith" in the Clay County criminal justice system, and is confident she will get justice for her daughter.
The Orange Park girl disappeared on her way home from school in October. Her body was found days later in a southeast Georgia landfill, where Orange Park's trash is dumped.
Harrell's next hearing is set for Aug. 3.

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Normal August 2010/ Somer Thompson Murder Suspect Jarred Harrell Not in Court Today

Post by Nama on Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:13 am

The trial in the murder of Somer Thompson will have to wait for several more weeks.

Jarred Harrell has been charged with the abduction and murder of 7-year-old Somer Thompson last fall as she walked home from school in Orange Park.

He was scheduled to be in court this morning for a pre-trial hearing, but the hearing was passed until Sept. 28. Harrell was not in the courtroom.

But Somer's mother, Diena Thompson, was there today, seated next to Bobby Ingram from the local band Molly Hatchet.

The band has been a key supporter of Thompson since Somer's murder.

Somer didn't come home after school one day in October 2009, and her body was found in a Georgia landfill days later.

Harrell was identified as a person of interest while he lived in Mississippi. He was arrested there Feb. 11 on 29 counts of child pornography and extradited to Clay County.

He was charged with Somer's murder in March.

In addition to Ingram's presence, Diena Thompson said she was comforted by a line of motorcycle riders outside the courtroom showing their support for children, a cause Thompson has taken up since Somer's murder.

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Normal No More Showings, Fast Trial For Harrell

Post by Nama on Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:14 am

Court Documents Give Insight Into Defense's Preparation For Trial

Jarred Harrell will not be seen at any more pretrial court hearings leading up to his trial, according to court documents.
Harrell's defense team has waived his right to attend pretrial conferences, along with his right to a speedy trial.
Harrell's attorneys are also trying to save Harrell from the possibility of being on death row. Public defender Matt Shirk is asking the judge to eliminate death as a possible penalty, according to the documents.
The request said the Fourth Judicial Circuit too often seeks the death penalty in an erratic manner. It said the prosecutor's "decision to seek death is governed seemingly by nothing more than the day to day whimsy of the elected state attorney."


Somer Thompson disappeared as she walked home from school on Oct. 19. Her body was found two days later in the Georgia landfill where Orange Park's trash is dumped.
The defense pointed out that the Fourth Judicial Circuit leads the state in number of death row inmates. The judge has not ruled on this request.
Attorney's for 7-year-old Somer Thompson's accused killer are also requesting video from WJXT, according to the documents. A motion was filed asking for all the stories, video and audio that Channel 4 has aired regarding the case. A judge has not ruled on this motion either.
The judge did deny Harrell's motion for a protective order, according to the documents. The issue was brought up by his attorneys on April 28. It's unclear what the protective order was for and what Harrell's attorneys were trying to protect Harrell from.
Attorneys will next meet in late September.

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Normal Pretrial Hearing Held In Harrell Murder Case Jarred Harrell Not In Court In 7-Year-Old Girl's Killing

Post by Nama on Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:41 pm

The man charged with murder in the death of 7-year-old Somer Thompson had a court date Tuesday, though he did not appear at the hearing.
Jarred Harrell is facing 58 charges, including killing the Orange Park girl last October.
Though Harrell was not in court, the case proceeded with a pretrial hearing. Other charges Harrell is facing include possession of child pornography, child molestation and promoting the sexual activity of a child, none of which are associated with Somer.
Diena Thompson, Somer's mother, sat in court Tuesday as she has for all of the pretrial hearings in her daughter's case.
"I come to represent my daughter and all of the other children that are missing or murdered," Diena Thompson said. "I made a vow that I'd be here, and hell nor high water can keep me away."
Thompson said she hoped to see the man prosecutors said killed her daughter, but instead, she saw a courtroom full of lawyers and procedure, as yet another court date passed without event.
"Yeah, it's frustrating because that means it's just going to take that much longer to get to trial," Thompson said. "But so long as they're going through the info and they're getting everything that they need to get to make sure he's where he belongs, then that's what we have to do."
Police said Harrell abducted and killed Somer while the girl was walking home from Orange Park Elementary School. After a massive search, Somer's body was found days later in a Georgia landfill.
Four months later, Harrell was arrested in Lauderdale County, Miss., and brought back to Clay County to face the charges.
Harrell, who hasn't appeared in court since April, has waived his right to appear in any more pretrial proceedings, which means he likely won't be seen again until his trial starts sometime next year. The next scheduled court date is Jan. 4.
Thompson said she's eagerly awaiting the trial date with a mix of anticipation and anxiety.
"Oh yeah, I think it'll be terrible," she said. "I've only seen him once in real life, and that was in his April appearance. So yeah, it'll be tough, but I have faith. That's all I have."

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Normal Jarred Harrell's Jail Visit Info, Calls Released

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:41 pm

The Clay County Sheriff's Office on Friday released a log of people who have visited the man accused of killing 7-year-old Somer Thompson, a list of his movements since he was booked into the jail in March, along with audio of phone calls he's made.
Jarred Harrell is awaiting trial on 58 charges, including sexual assault and murder.
Police said Harrell abducted and killed Somer while the girl was walking home from Orange Park Elementary School last October. After a massive search, Somer's body was found days in a Georgia landfill where Orange Park's trash is dumped.

Somer Thompson disappeared as she walked home from school on Oct. 19. Her body was found two days later in the Georgia landfill where Orange Park's trash is dumped.
Four months later, Harrell was arrested in Lauderdale County, Miss., and brought back to Clay County to face the charges.
The phone calls released are between Harrell and his mother, who tries to provide encouragement.
"Just hang in there, baby, and you know, at least you have some books to read to kind of get your mind off stuff," she is heard telling Harrell.
Among the books his mother sent was a Bible.
Harrell told his mother he just wanted pizza and cigarettes and, "just come home and sit down."
He also told his mother he didn't get a card from his grandmother because it didn't have a return address and corrections officers wouldn't allow it in "because it might be somebody sending a bomb or something."

Harrell was conscious of the fact that these calls were being recorded, but reassured his mother that calls with his lawyer are not recorded.
Harrell has not appeared in court since April and has waived his right to appear in any more pretrial proceedings, which means he likely won't be seen again until his trial starts sometime next year. The next scheduled court date is Jan. 4.

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Normal Uncut calls from Jarred to his mother

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:44 pm

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Normal "This will be the last breath that I waste or use on you," Thompson said before leaving the witness stand. "As with the last breath, I would like to tell this honorable court that it is now time to take out the trash.

Post by Nama on Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:23 pm

Jarred Harrell pleaded guilty Friday to murdering 7-year-old Somer Thompson in October 2009.

The 26-year-old admitted to kidnapping, molesting and killing the Orange Park girl.
He also pleaded guilty in two other cases, including child molestation of a 3-year-old girl and possession of child pornography, a total of 59 charges.

Harrell was sentenced to life in prison, an agreement prosecutors and defense attorneys came to for Harrell to avoid the death penalty in a trial.

Harrell admitted that he confined Somer, sexually assaulted her, lewdly touched her in private areas and strangled her. He admitted that he then put her body in a container and then put the container in a Dumpster.

Harrell was present in the courtroom for the first time since he was arraigned in 2010.

Diena Thompson, Somer's mother, and other family members and supporters dressed in purple, Somer's favorite color, attended the hearing, something Thompson has done since the man convicted of killing her daughter was arrested.

Somer was kidnapped while walking home from school and found dead in a southeast Georgia landfill two days later.

Several relatives made impact statements at the hearing, addressing Harrell directly.

"Once again, I think that you should look at me, the mother of the child that you strangled and raped and threw in the trash, but cowardly as always, you can keep your head buried," Thompson said to Harrell while on the court stand. "Somer was an innocent child. Before you took her life, you took her dignity, her virginity, and then you took her life. After all that, you then treated my child like trash. I don't know why. Only you can answer that question. There is no reason that you could provide me. There is only your own pitiful, sorry excuses."

Thompson said she doesn't think the court's punishment is enough.

"Your punishment absolutely does not fit your crime," she said. "Your admission of guilt made it possible for good people to spare your sorry life, obviously a foreign concept to you."

"This will be the last breath that I waste or use on you," Thompson said before leaving the witness stand. "As with the last breath, I would like to tell this honorable court that it is now time to take out the trash. May God have mercy on your sorry, sorry soul."

Before speaking, Thompson walked to the stand with Somer's twin brother, who also made a brief statement.

"We know you did this. We have evidence. She trusted you, but you had to do what you did, and look where it got you, and now you're going to jail," he said, staring down Harrell.

Other relatives of Somer's also spoke in court.

"Your selfish actions have forever changed so many lives," Somer's aunt, Dawn Burner, said to Harrell in impact statements. "Knowing you will never be able to hurt anyone else again is the only peace I get from this senseless act you have committed."

"Do you know what you did to my family on Oct. 19, 2009? You took everything," Debbie Bowling, Somer's grandmother. "How could you? ... How could you kill a defenseless little 7-year-old girl that only loved everybody?"

She said Somer's twin and other siblings all took the blame for something Harrell did.

"You are no longer a person or a gentle giant. You are a monster, and you should be treated so," she added. "Do you know where they put monsters? They go to big boy prison, and I hope the prison system will show you a real good time like you did Somer."

"I don't even know how you can live with yourself," Somer's older sister told Harrell. "You're not even a human being. Your name is not Jarred Harrell. Your name is monster."

Within hours after Somer's kidnapping was reported more than two years ago, hundreds of people -- many who had never met the girl -- joined the search. By the time her body was found, thousands who had never met Somer felt the loss.

The investigation into who killed Somer was frustratingly slow, but the Sheriff's Office was persistent.

On Feb. 11, 2010, Harrell, a former Orange Park resident, was arrested in Meridian, Miss., on 29 charges of possession of child pornography and was named a person of interest in the case.

That same day, Clay County detectives and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement searched a house in the 1100 block of Gano Avenue, not far from where Somer lived.

On March 26, 2010, Harrell was charged with murder in Somer's death.

Investigators said they found child pornography on a computer that belonged to Harrell, which led them to him. They found out he lived near Somer's home in Orange Park. Eventually, investigators found him at a relative's house in Mississippi.

Details of the case have been under tight guard with a gag order in place. The gag order was expected to be released after the guilty plea.

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Normal Tipster in Somer Thompson Case Speaks Out

Post by Nama on Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:48 pm



Thousands of tips poured in after Somer Thompson disappeared, but it was just one that set justice in motion.

Now the family that came forward in 2009 is speaking out about their experience.

"The few times I've been with him, the loss in his eyes is enough to bring any man to his knees," he said.

Rod Buchanan has sat in silence with Somer Thompson's grandfather, hoping the company will bring him some peace. In the two and a half years since Somer's murder, he said there's little he can say.

"I hope he gets some comfort in knowing this guy is going to plead guilty and save everybody the torment of a trial," he said.

Buchanan's daughter and son-in-law lived with accused killer Jarred Harrell in 2008. His daughter went to police after she said she found child pornography on Harrell's computer, two months before Somer's murder.

"When we opened the door to the sheriff's department, I looked at my little girl and said, 'Hey, what you're fixing to do is going to be the hardest thing you've ever done in your life. Are you sure you want to go through with it?' And she just looked at me and smiled and said, 'Absolutely,'" he said.

Months later, it was Buchanan's turn to call the cops, and tell them where Harrell had been hiding out.

"We were tip number 4,001. If it hadn't been for us, they wouldn't have tied him to the Somer Thompson murder anytime soon. Even the detective told us that," he said.

But it's been a hard road for Buchanan and his family.

He said they've been harassed mercilessly by people who believe Harrell is innocent.

He hopes Friday's court date will put an end to all that.

"All I can say is 'thank you' to the people out there who supported me and my family, and to the rest of you, eat crow. It's as simple as that," he said.

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Normal Re: Jarred Harrell pleads guilty in murder of Florida girl Somer Thompson

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