GOSNELL, AR (KAIT) – A Mississippi County teenager charged with the murder of an 11-year old girl appeared in court Monday, and will appear in court again in July ahead of his trial in August 11.
Christopher Sowell, 17, of Gosnell was arrested in connection with Jessica Williams' death in August, 2013. Police accused him of killing the girl after he got angry and pushed her off a bridge.
Sowell was originally given a $2-million bond, but it was later reduced to $25,000, according to documents obtained by Region 8 News.
Sowell was released from jail after posting bond. He has pleaded not guilty.
Since this case has developed, Mississippi County Circuit Judge Barbara Halsey issued a gag order, preventing officials from discussing the case publicly.
An affidavit released by the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department in 2013, stated 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. Sowell then said he pushed the girl over the side of the bridge into the water and walked away.
An autopsy report suggested Williams' death was caused by strangulation and drowning. She went missing on the night of Aug. 27 around 6 p.m. but was not reported missing until 9 p.m.
Mississippi County Sheriff Dale 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 shortly after the discovery.
Williams was found in a floodway ditch on East County Road 122 near Big Lake on the morning of Aug. 28.