Johnathan Quiles sentenced in Pregnant Niece Murder Trial

Posted at 5:05 PM, October 2, 2023

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Court TV) — A judge sentenced Johnathan Quiles to three life sentences after a jury recommended life without parole for the murder of his pregnant niece and her unborn child.

On Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, the judge delivered the following sentence:

  • Count 1 – Murder: Life in prison with a 20 year minimum, according to Fla. State law. Quiles has 1,537 days credit.
  • Count 2 – Murder: Life in prison, consecutive to Count 1 and zero days credit.
  • Count 3 – Sexual Battery: Life in prison with zero days credit. Count 3 also carries $503 in surcharges. Count 3 will follow consecutively to Count 2.
  • Quiles was also designated as a sexual predator in an order signed by the judge.
johnathan quiles and iyana sawyer combo photo

(L) Johnathan Quiles (Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office), (R) Iyana Sawyer (NamUS)

Quiles, 38, was convicted on September 25, 2023, in the presumed death of 16-year-old Iyana Sawyer and her unborn child, Hazel.

Sawyer was last seen Dec. 19, 2018. Prosecutors said that day, Sawyer left her high school and went to a salvage yard where her uncle worked. She was five months pregnant, and her remains have not been found. Investigators said Quiles was the father of Sawyer’s child.

The jury took less than one hour to convict Quiles on all charges in the initial trial, and nearly one hour and fifteen minutes in the penalty phase.

At Quiles’ trial, which began Sept. 14, multiple witnesses testified to the alleged relationship between the defendant and his niece. Sawyer’s grandmother, Winella Haynes, testified she saw them in a “full embrace” during Thanksgiving 2018, reported WJXT. Sawyer’s sister testified she witnessed “inappropriate touching, kissing and sexual encounters.” She also reportedly claimed Quiles wanted Sawyer to get an abortion.

Prosecutors introduced wiretapped conversations between the defendant and others in jail after he was charged with Iyana’s murder, as well as testimony from jailhouse informants who said Quiles confessed to them.

Quiles’ defense claimed Sawyer may still be alive, and there is no crime scene or DNA evidence that ties their client to the alleged crime. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of sexual battery.

Quiles faced a potential death sentence for the murders of both Sawyer and her unborn child. The jury deliberated for more than an hour before recommending a sentence of life without the possibility of parole on both murder counts.

After a meeting on Sept. 28, sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 2, 2023 at 2:30 pm ET. So far, one impact statement is expected from Kimberly Mobley, Iyana’s mother. There is no word whether anyone from Quiles’ family will speak.