2-hour audio from jail informant could be heard as Quiles murder trial moves to day 3 in testimonies

Johnathan Quiles appears in court as jury selection begins in his murder trial. (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A jailhouse informant’s two-hour-long audio recording could be key evidence for the jury in the Johnathan Quiles trial. That’s evidence we expect to hear when testimony starts again Monday morning.

Quiles is charged with raping and murdering his niece, Iyana Sawyer, back in 2018. It’s believed she was pregnant with his child. Her body has never been found.

Quiles will be back in court Monday morning as testimony in his murder trial moves into its third day. The next few days will be crucial. In addition to a two-hour-long jailhouse wire will be heard.

Jurors could hear from the jailhouse informant, a firearms expert, and possibly even Quiles’ own brother. Detectives believe after killing the young girl, Quiles admitted it to his brother. Defense attorneys argue because Sawyer’s body has not been found, she could be alive.

Friday, the court heard emotional testimony from Sawyer’s younger sister, who said she knew about the relationship between Iyana and Quiles. And had even described seeing their uncle grope and kiss her. But waited until weeks after Iyana disappeared before saying anything.

“You knew the entire time she was going to grandma. You knew that the day she went missing. You told her not to go? Yes. You never revealed that to anyone until 4 months correct? It was about nothing is what you told the police, it’s correct. You didn’t think that was important enough to tell anyone for 4 months?” was a question asked in court by Christine Michele, Quiles defense attorney while questioning Iyana’s sister.

Also in court, testimony centered on items found at the Otis Road Landfill, where crews searched for days.

“Our search was in the area where ace pick a part would’ve gone,” said Shannon Lillard, former JSO Crime scene photographer.

That was Quiles’ workplace. Victoria’s Secret undergarments were also found, a brand Sawyer was known to wear, and a book from Terry Parker High School, where she was a student. The defense argues there is still no evidence of a crime scene. This was an exchange during cross-examination.

“You went through all that debris but no sign of IS? No. And you found no blood? No sir. No trace of anything remotely related to contributing to a crime scene? No sir.”

Prosecutors may rest their case on Tuesday. Once that happens, defense attorneys will then start calling their witnesses.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.