NORWICH – A co-defendant in a child rape and murder case admitted to the Chenango County Court that he tried to help cover up the crime, and officials said he wasn't directly involved in her rape or murder.
James Brower, 37, of Norwich was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree hindering prosecution, tampering with physical evidence, and making a false written statement.
He pleaded guilty to first-degree hindering prosecution on Friday after officials said he lied to police to try and pin the crime on another minor in the household. As part of the plea deal, Brower will be sentenced to one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in prison.
According to prosecutors, Brower assisted another defendant who has already pleaded guilty, Tobias Rundstrom-Wooding, with a fatal attack on 11-year-old Jacelyn O’Connor on July 30, 2017 in the Town of Norwich.
Rundstrom-Wooding was sentenced to 20 years to life in state prison in June.
Chenango County District Attorney Michael Ferrarese spoke on the case and said the evidence shows that Rundstrom-Wooding killed and raped 11-year-old victim, Jacelyn O'Connor, not Brower.
"All of our legally admissible evidence showed that James Brower committed the crime of first-degree hindering prosecution," said Ferrarese. "It also showed that Brower was not actually involved in the rape or murder of Jacelyn O'Connor."
Ferrarese thanked all the agencies involved in the case included New York State Police and the Chenango County Sheriff's Office.
– Read more about the plea in Monday's edition of The Evening Sun