Florida girl's killer gets death sentence - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Florida girl's killer gets death sentence

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2006 1:31 pm | Updated: 5:07 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

SARASOTA, Fla. - A former mechanic convicted of raping and murdering 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, whose abduction was caught on a car wash security camera, was sentenced to death Wednesday for her murder.

The jury that convicted Joseph P. Smith in November had recommended by a vote of 10-2 that he be executed.

Smith, 39, showed no emotion Wednesday as state Circuit Judge Andrew Owens read the official sentences - death for the murder count and life in prison for kidnapping and sexual battery.

Last month, Smith had tearfully apologized during a hearing, saying: "I take responsibility of my crimes. I don't understand how this could have happened. ... Every day I think about what I did and beg God for forgiveness."

He said he had taken heroin and cocaine in an attempt to kill himself before he abducted Carlie on Feb. 1, 2004. Smith said he didn't remember much about that day and asked Owens to spare him for the sake of his family. His attorney, Adam Tebrugge, argued that Smith could lead a productive life in prison and be a positive influence on his three daughters if he was spared.

Owens discounted those arguments Wednesday. He said Carlie suffered "unspeakable terror and physical suffering" at Smith's hands.

Carlie's body was found four days after her disappearance on the grounds of a Sarasota church. News of the crime shook the community, and hundreds turned out for memorial services.

Absent from the courtroom was Carlie's mother, Susan Schorpen, who is in jail in Pinellas County on drug and prostitution charges. She has said the pain of losing her daughter led her to institutionalize herself three times and take drugs to numb the pain.

  • Discuss
Your Az Jobs