Teen enters not guilty plea in Jessica Williams' death

Christopher Sowell (Mississippi County Sheriff's Department)
Christopher Sowell (Mississippi County Sheriff's Department)

GOSNELL, AR (KAIT) - A teenager arrested for the murder of an 11-year-old girl entered a not guilty plea Thursday.

Christopher Sowell, 17 was arrested in connection with Jessica Williams' death on Aug 28. Sowell's bond was set at two million dollars on Aug. 30, according to court documents. He was charged with first degree murder.

Sowell, who is from Gosnell, is scheduled to appear in court again on Oct. 14 and has a trial date set for Nov. 12.

An affidavit released by the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department states Sowell admitted to investigators that he killed Jessica Williams. He told officers he became angry and pushed the girl off the bridge onto the ground. Sowell then said when Jessica got back on the bridge, she said she was going to tell her dad what happened.

According to the affidavit, Sowell told investigators he became even more angry, grabbed Jessica by the throat and choked her until he saw her get "wide eyed." Sowell then said he pushed the girl over the side of the bridge into the water and walked away.

An autopsy report released on Sept. 6 suggests Jessica Williams death was caused by strangulation and drowning.

Jessica Williams went missing on the night of Aug. 27 around 6 p.m. but was not reported missing until 9p.m.

"Her father reported that he last saw her playing outside of his home on County Road 503," said Sheriff Dale Cook.

Cook said the girl's home was only about 5 miles from where she was found.

"The young girl's bicycle was found near her home although her body was found in an area not easy to drive or walk to," Cook said.

The body of Jessica Williams was found in a floodway ditch on East County Road 122 near Big Lake on the morning of Aug. 28.

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