East End man pleads guilty to killing 2-month-old son

Jason Lewellen, 43.
Josh Briggs
Managing Editor

An East End man was sentenced to 60 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction on Friday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder of his 2-month-old son, Juste.

Jason Lewellen, 43, entered his plea before Saline County Circuit Judge Gary Arnold. The defendant was originally charged with capital murder in the case.

The infant was admitted to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock on Nov. 11, 2016, according to court records.

The reports state that Juste sustained severe brain injuries. Prior to being admitted to the hospital, Juste was in the care of Lewellen, records show.

Initially, Lewellen told hospital staff that the child fell from a recliner and struck his head.

However, Dr. Karen Farst said that the injuries were inconsistent with that explanation and that the child was a victim of child abuse.

Other than a brain injury, the toddler also had bruising to his head and legs.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Bush represented the state in the case. The defendant was represented by public defenders Chris Walton and Toney Brasuell.

See Saturday's issue for more information.