Chenango County men plead not guilty in child rape, murder case

NORWICH, N.Y. -- Two men accused of killing an 11-year-old girl in Norwich enter not guilty pleas in the case.

James Brower, along with his partner and alleged co-conspirator, Tobias Rundstrom-Wooding, were both in court Monday morning. Brower was arraigned on a second-degree murder charge, along with three lesser counts, while Rundstrom-Wooding was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree rape.

The charges stem from the death of Jacelyn O'Connor in July. Prosecutors say the girl was staying at Brower's home when the men attacked her. She was visiting her half-brothers at the time.

Spectrum News spoke with both sides after court. Brower's attorney says his client is shaken by what happened.

"Obviously, this is a very upsetting situation for him," said John Cameron. "He felt that this happened at his home. He feels responsible for all the young people that were living there, so this was a terrible situation, a terrible, terrible tragedy for everyone involved."

"All we can do is be ready and prepared, and that's what we're doing," said Chenango County District Attorney Joseph McBride. "We will be providing the defense with open file as council says, so they know the information they have against both of those individuals, and the matter will be decided if not by the parties, by a jury next year."

Both defense teams have 45 days to file any motions. If the case isn't settled before then, both men will be tried separately, sometime next year.

Rundstrom-Wooding’s bail was set at $500,000 or $1 million property bond. Brower’s was set at $400,000 or $800,000 property bond.

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