Sydney Sutherland’s family ready to get justice as truck driver who 'raped & killed' her is found fit to stand trial

THE family of slain nurse Sydney Sutherland are "ecstatic but anxious" after a farmer charged with her death has been declared mentally fit to stand trial, The Sun can exclusively reveal.

Sydney, 24, was reportedly raped and murdered in Arkansas and her body was found on Friday, August 21 – just days after she vanished while going out for a jog near her home.

Quake Lewellyn, 28, who went to school with Sydney, has pleaded not guilty to charges of capital murder, kidnapping, rape and abuse of corpse.

Amy Lovins, the mother of Sydney's longterm boyfriend, Alex Nicholson, branded Lewellyn an "evil b******" as she spoke exclusively to The Sun ahead of the trial on September 28.

She said: "We are just ecstatic about the mental evaluation [decision], that has been a huge relief, and like things are finally going in our favor.

"Her mom Maggy is happy, it was a big load off everyone's shoulders.

"Everybody's anxious but ready to get the ball rolling so we can get our justice for her.

"He's an evil b******. It was really going to shock me if they found him not able to stand trial, but I was not surprised his lawyers did that, when I heard it it just burned me up to my core.

"I would give anything if she was still here, we're not going to quit fighting, she had such a bright future."

Amy, who attended the initial court hearing, said Lewellyn refused to look at the family, but she will be there to face him again at the trial.

She said: "He never looked at us, but I want to face him, I wanted him to look at us, it just doesn't seem like he's had any remorse so far."

Fox 16 initially reported that licensed forensic psychologist Lacey Willett found the truck driver is fit to stand and said he has no history of mental health treatment.

Willett wrote in a report: "It is my opinion that at the time of the alleged conduct, Mr. Lewellyn did not manifest symptoms of a mental disease or mental defect." 

Farmer Quake initially admitted to police he mowed down the nurse with his truck, drove her to a nearby field, then raped her on the tailgate of his vehicle, according to an affidavit released on October 16.

He then told cops he used a shovel to dig a hole and buried Sydney's body, police records obtained by KATV show.

New details have emerged from the mental health assessment which was carried out in early January following a court order.

In the report, Willett wrote: "During the current evaluation, he disclosed that he put Sydney's body on the tailgate of his truck 'to hide her body so [he] wouldn't be in trouble.'

"He stated that he buried her body in a rice field and did not tell anyone about the incident that night, further demonstrating that he knew his behavior was against the law.

"He also mentioned that he 'went to work just like normal' the following day and spoke to a police officer on the phone, which also suggests he was capable of acting in a manner compliant with the law."

Lewlleyn also said he carried out a number of tasks including checking wells, eating lunch, and going back to work before sitting down for dinner with his family.

Amy said the family were "angry" the trial had been pushed back due to COVID, but they understand many cases have been delayed across America as courts face a backlog.

"I hope that they don't press for the death penalty," she told The Sun.

"I really hope that he gets into general population and gets life, let people do to him in prison what they may. My husband said the death penalty is an easy way out for him.

"I'm mad right now, I'm bitter, and yes I hate him, and I know that's an awfully strong word, I've never hated anybody in my whole life.

"One of these days I'll let that go for my own peace, as long as I'm feeling that way evil is winning and evil will not take me down.

"I won't ever forgive and I won't ever forget, but for my own good I'll have to let that part go."

Amy described Sydney, who had been dating Alex for four years, as "super smart and gorgeous inside and out" and said her son has been left heartbroken by her death.

The pair lived together with their dogs, and Amy believes she was "the one" for her son and they would have eventually tied the knot.

"If this hadn't have happened they would eventually be married," she said.

"They had discussed that but they both wanted to get their career paths right.

"I imagined them giving me beautiful grandbabies, they were just a stunning couple.

"He [Alex] tries to be really strong, but he's not, you know. He's kind of like everyone else day to day, different days bring on different feelings.

"He had a hard time for a long while just going home, because they lived together, someone would often be with him.

"That was the love of his life, and she was ripped from him and their future was just torn because of this."

Syndey's mother Maggy previously broken her silence in a heartbreaking interview with The Sun, paying tribute to her "best friend" as their traumatized family continues to grieve.

Her daughter, who went missing while jogging near the Grubbs and Newport area of Jackson County, was last seen off Highway 18.

Maggy, 55, told said: "It always comes back to, Why wasn’t I there? Why was I not with her? Why did this happen?

"Everyone is still in shock, it just does not seem real. It's like we are living a nightmare, not just the family but also the community.

"She was a very beautiful, caring and loving person.

"She brought light to everyone who came in contact with her.

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"As a family, we are living day to day and trying to get through this tragedy. We are grieving the best way we know how.

"There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think of her and miss her pretty smile."

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