In the sentencing phase of the trial of Joseph Smith – who was found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering 11-year-old Carlie Brucia – her parents told jurors Monday that Smith’s actions shattered their lives.
“I lost the love of my life,” her mother, Susan Schorpen, said while fighting back tears from the witness stand. “I cry for her at all hours of the day. I cry for her at night. I’m broken. I will never heal.”
Outside the courthouse, she said, “I’d like him dead today,” the Associated Press reports.
While the prosecutor in the case is seeking the execution of Smith, defense attorney Carolyn DaSilva asked jurors to recommend sparing the killer’s life.
DaSilva cited that the former auto mechanic had battled back pain, depression and drug addiction for the past dozen years, and said relatives, friends and a drug-addiction expert would testify how “a man with good qualities could have fallen so far.”
His aunt, a cousin and a former girlfriend described him as a talented handyman who was ready to help anybody with cars or home-improvement projects.
Carlie’s Feb. 1, 2004 abduction – captured by a car-wash surveillance camera – and subsequent murder received worldwide attention. Her body was found five days later outside a church.
“When Carlie was taken from our family, it hurt us to the core,” Carlie’s father, Joseph Brucia, told the jury. “Many times, I didn’t want to go on and was close to taking my own life.”
Circuit Judge Andrew Owens, who ultimately will decide the sentence, said he would give the jurors’ recommendation “great weight.”