Somer's mom hears killer's confession

Evidence, confession released in Somer Thompson's slaying

Published On: Mar 01 2012 02:25:11 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 10 2012 06:35:00 PM EST
Harrell-Questioned16x9
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The man who pleaded guilty last month to kidnapping, raping and killing Somer Thompson mundanely confessed in a videotaped interview with detectives that he suffocated the girl in October 2009, but initially denied sexually molesting the 7-year-old Orange Park girl.

The nearly four-hour video of detectives interviewing Jarred Harrell was among dozens of documents, photos and other evidence released by the Clay County Sheriff's Office on Thursday. It was material investigators gathered leading to the arrest and prosecution of Harrell.

Somer Thmpson 2009 school photo Harrell maintained that Somer wandered into his house on Gano Avenue as he was moving out.

"She looked like she was scared to death and started streaming. At that point, I walked over to her to try and quiet her," Harrell said.

He said he covered her mouth with one hand and held the back of her head with his other hand and suffocated her.

More than an hour further into the interview, with detectives pressing for the truth, Harrell admitted to the acts he committed before killing her. 

When she was dead, Harrell said put her body in a cooler and drove to a Dumpster in Fleming Island, where he dumped her body.

Channel 4's Emily Turner, who reviewed the entire interview, said Harrell remained matter-of-fact will talking about killing Somer and seemed more embarrassed than sorry for what he did.

Investigators from Team Somer shared the information with Somer's mother, Diena Thompson, earlier this week before releasing it to the public.

Thompson said reading the interview made her want to scream.

"I felt like I had no choice but to read it. Even if I didn't want to, I had no choice. I had no choice because its so public," Thompson told Channel 4. "That I have to be armed with the right knowledge to go out here in front of people because they are going to come up to me and say, 'Oh, did you read this?' or, 'Oh, did you know this?'"

She said she was especially disgusted with Harrell's request to plead guilty to murder to have the sexual molestation charges dropped.

"In one part of that he says his actual words are, 'I'll eat a murder. I'll eat the murder charge  if you guys take away the child porn charge'. And I just can't believe that murder is the less of two evils in this situation," Thompson said.

UNCUT VIDEO: Clay County detectives' interview with Harrell (contains graphic descriptions)
DOCUMENTS (contain graphic material): Harrell arrest warrant | Lewd and lascivious investigation
DNA analysis | Computer, digital camera analysis | Sketch of house
IMAGES: Evidence, Jarred Harrell's interview | SPECIAL SECTION: Justice For Somer

Thompson said she cringes when people tell her that she's strong, because she says, she's "just a mom." Diena Thompson said she is "mentally, just exhausted... because it's been such a long hell."

She said reading what happened to her little girl is like torturing herself.

"That's what it feels like. I mean I just feel so bad for Somer that she had to endure that and then not end up being saved and the fact that he even admits that she's screaming... and no one came and helped her," Thompson said.

Somer's mother said she is angry because authorities questioned Harrell on October 9th, 10 days before her daughter went missing.

"They had him in there and they could of saved her life," she said.

Being angry, though, she said is no use.

"It doesn't bring Somer back. It doesn't make life any easier or any better. It is what it is and he is responsible. Not the Clay County Sheriff's Office, not FDLE, not FBI... monster, monster."

Thompson said Harrell's interview with authorities was so graphic, police officers who were watching from another room had to be physically held back.

"I knew he was a flipping animal and a monster, but I had no idea," Thompson said. "And every time that I think that I can't be surprised anymore, I'm surprised again and it makes me so very disappointed in myself for thinking that I still can't be surprised at this."

Harrell pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced to six life sentences for killing Somer, along with dozens of unrelated child molestation and pornography charges.

Somer was with her older sister, twin brother and some friends the day she was kidnapped, but ran ahead of them after they had a spat.

Authorities said Harrell lured Somer into the home so she could play with a dog she had seen there many times.

Somer's body was found in a southeast Georgia landfill two days later. Investigators said Harrell kidnapped the first-grader while she was walking home from school, then raped and murdered her.

Investigators said Somer died from asphyxiation and suffered blows to the head.

Harrell was arrested months later in Mississippi, but only on child pornography charges. He wasn't indicted for Somer's murder until five months after her death, then waived his appearance in court for the next 18 months when he agreed to plead guilty and accept sentencing.

Much of the evidence released Thursday was related to the initial child pornography investigation that began on Aug. 12, 2009 -- two months before Somer's disappearance.

A search warrant for Harrell's previous residence was executed Sept. 9 and material was turned over to the state Attorney General's office with the promise it would have results back in four weeks. Instead it took two months.

Harrell was questioned the day Somer disappeared, telling deputies he was home that afternoon, but didn't see Somer.

Two friends of Harrell's later told detectives that he began acting very strange and suspicious after Somer's disappearance. It was noted that Harrell lost weight, became reclusive and began growing facial hair.

Among the notes in one investigator's report was that a friend said Harrell had told sexual jokes involving children.

Between the Sheriff's Office and the FDLE, dozens of subpoenas were issued during the course of the investigation, including to banks, phone companies, Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo!, EarthLink and all major credit card services.

A short time later, Harrell moved to Mississippi to live with relatives. Clay County investigators had him placed under surveillance on Jan. 25, 2010. He was arrested less than a month later.

In interviews with Clay County detectives, Harrell admitted to detectives that he was obsessed with child pornography, although he said he would feel guilty afterward and sometimes destroyed the photos and video.