After five hours of deliberation on Thursday, a Sarasota, Fla., jury found Joseph Smith guilty on murder, kidnapping and sexual battery charges in the February 2004 kidnapping and killing of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, whom he abducted by leading the child by the arm away from a car wash parking lot in a case that captured national attention.
When Smith, 39, heard the verdicts – his attorney waived the right to offer a closing statement in the case – he pursed his lips and nodded, CNN reports.
Sentencing for Smith, a former car mechanic and the father of three daughters, is scheduled for Nov. 28, and his attorney is said to be gearing up to argue against Smith’s being put to death.
At the time of his arrest, Smith was free on probation. Although he had been acquitted on a 1997 kidnapping charge, Smith was convicted in 1997 of carrying a concealed weapon and again in 2001 for possessing heroin and attempting to obtain controlled substances by fraudulent means, according to his Florida arrest records.
“He should’ve never been out of jail,” Carlie’s mother, Susan Schorpen, in tears, told reporters after the verdicts. “The law has to change.” Thanking members of the jury for having reached their decision, she added: “I lost one of the most precious things to me in my life because of an animal, a disgusting, perverted animal.”