Sotomayor pleads not guilty in Townsend murder

Screenshot+taken+from+Calloway+County+Circuit+Court+virtual+meeting.

Screenshot taken from Calloway County Circuit Court virtual meeting.

Staff Report

Julius Sotomayor, the man charged in the death of Murray State senior Sarah Townsend, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, May 4. 

Sotomayor was arraigned virtually from the Calloway County Jail in front of Judge Jamie Jameson in the Calloway County Circuit Court. 

Shannon Powers, an attorney with the Department of Public Advocacy, was appointed to represent Sotomayor in the case.

Sotomayor, of Dexter, Kentucky, was indicted by the Calloway County grand jury on April 16. He is charged with murder, tampering with evidence and theft by unlawful taking (auto). 

Townsend’s body was found on March 26 in a ditch near the Cherry Corner area in Murray. Townsend was a 21-year-old pre-veterinary major and residential advisor at College Courts. She was originally from Farmville, Virginia. 

The News spoke with Townsend’s friend, senior advertising major Al Lloyd,  who said Townsend had a prior relationship with Sotomayor. He said Townsend met Sotomayor a few months before she died through a mutual friend. They began playing video games and hanging out together. Lloyd said she was aware of Sotomayor’s criminal record and was trying to help him. 

“She was doing so much to make sure he was trying to have a better life because he was fresh out of prison,” Lloyd said. “She was trying to make sure he was doing better and included him into her friend group like she did with me when I first came here.”

KSP Detective Trevor Pervine testified during the grand jury hearing that Sotomayor admitted to shooting Townsend several times before fleeing to Georgia. 

“He said he wanted to kill himself,” Pervine said. “He was in the driver’s seat, she was in the passenger seat. He said he wanted to kill himself. She wouldn’t let him kill himself so he killed her instead.”

Sotomayor remains in the Calloway County Jail on a $1 million cash bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 17, at 1:30 p.m.

The News will continue to follow this case and provide updates online and on social media.