Couey sentenced to death

August 24, 2007

INVERNESS, Fla.---A Florida child killer and sex offender is headed for death row.

Judge Rick Howard has sentenced John Couey to death after a Miami-based jury voted 10-2 to execute him.

Judge Howard says the manner in which Couey kidnapped nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford from her bedroom, raped her, and later buried her alive sealed his fate.

Couey was captured in Augusta after the 2005 crime.

Before today's sentencing, Couey shared thoughts about his crimes and life with the aunt who raised him.

"Yeah, I kick myself in the butt a hundred times a day. 'I know. I know.' Stupidity. Yeah well, just trying to figure out. Just asking myself why was you so stupid?"

Mark Lunsford, Jessica's father, was in court for the sentencing. His eyes filled with tears as he heard the judge read a detailed history of the case.

The family embraced after the sentence.

The sentence is automatically appealed.

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