A Norwich man has admitted to covering up the murder and rape of an 11-year-old girl in the summer of 2017. James Brower pleaded guilty to first-degree hindering prosecution on Friday in Chenango County Court, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors say 11-year-old Jacelyn O'Connor was the sibling to Brower's children and was staying with them in the summer of 2017 when she was smothered to death and raped by a second defendant, Tobias Rundstrom-Wooding, who pleaded guilty to the crime in June, 2018.
Early on in the legal proceedings, prosecutors have said they did not believe Brower actually carried out the act, but that he did try to pin the blame on to someone other than Rundstrom-Wooding. At Brower's pre-trial hearing in August 2017, police said Brower told them it could not have been Runstrom-Wooding, but instead tried to turn suspicion on to another minor in the house. Former Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride said Brower and Rundstrom-Wooding were a couple.
Rundstrom-Wooding was sentenced to 20 years to life in state prison in June 2018. Brower is scheduled to be sentenced on June 17th. As part of the plea deal, he could be sentenced to one and a half to four and a half years in prison for trying to cover up the crime.