Prosecutors say a Town of Norwich man accused of murdering the half-sister of his sons was attempting to rape the 11 year old girl when he smothered her on Sunday, July 30.

36 year old James Brower appeared in court August 3 and asked for a public defender.  He pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of Jacelyn O’Connor of Morris.

New York State Police were called to Brower’s mobile home on County Route 33 at around 11 a.m. July 30 on a report of a child in cardiac arrest and found O’Connor dead inside the trailer. The death was ruled a homicide and Brower was arrested.

He is being held in the Chenango County Jail without bail.

The Morris Central School in neighboring Otsego County where the girl had been a student has been offering counseling services and will host a candlelight vigil on the evening of August 7.