Prosecutors: Evidence Shows Man Didn't Kill 11-year-old But Covered It Up

By: Zachary Meseck

Prosecutors: Evidence shows man didn't kill 11-year-old but covered it up

NORWICH – A man who pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution in Chenango County Court on Friday stated he lied to police to help his co-defendant get away with rape and murder.

James Brower, 37, of Norwich 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.

Brower is scheduled to appear for sentencing at 1:30 p.m. on June 17 at Chenango County Court.

According to New York State Police, law enforcement responded to a reported cardiac arrest on at 11:13 a.m. on Sunday, July 30 2017, at 961 County Route 33, in the Town of Norwich, and upon arrival officers discovered the body of the victim.

Prosecutors said it took 45 minutes for the defendants to contact emergency services after learning of O’Connor’s death. Prosecutors added that Brower is the father of O'Connor's half-siblings.

Chenango County District Attorney Michael Ferrarese spoke on the case and said the evidence shows that Rundstrom-Wooding raped and killed 11-year-old Jacelyn O'Connor, and Brower helped him with his attempt to cover it up. Prosecutors previously said Brower and Rundstrom-Wooding were dating at the time of the murder.

"The defendant attempted to deceive law enforcement into believing that another minor in the household had carried out the crime," said Ferrarese. "He also assisted Rundstrom-Wooding with other forms of tampering with evidence as well."

He said the evidence shows Brower assisted Rundstrom-Wooding with covering up the crime, but it also shows Brower wasn't involved in the murder or rape of O'Conner.

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