North Carolina man sentenced to death for the rape and murder of his teenage daughter


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A North Carolina man has been sentenced to death for the brutal rape and murder of his teenage daughter.

A Union County jury sentenced Joshua Lee Burgess, 35, to death Friday, June 3, after he was convicted of murder and other charges for killing his 15-year-old daughter Zaria in 2019.

Burgess slit Zaria’s throat on Aug. 18, 2019, after sexually and psychologically torturing her for 22 hours at his home in Monroe.

“This was truly an especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel killing of an innocent child,” the Union County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement after Burgess’ sentencing.

“This case was emotionally taxing for everyone involved. We continue to grieve with and pray for Zaria’s mother.”

The girl lived with her biological mother but was visiting her father for the weekend at the time of her killing, according to WBTV.
Burgess walked into the police station and confessed to killing her the same day he committed the act.

He told investigators his address, where they found Zaria’s body.
“It’s just evil,” Union County Sheriff Tony Underwood said. “I mean murder is murder, but to kill your own flesh and blood like this there’s just no way to explain it other than it’s just an evil crime.”

Burgess was convicted of one count of first degree murder, one count of statutory rape, three counts of statutory sex offense and one count of first degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

The jury in the case sentenced Burgess to death on the murder charge and an additional minimum of nearly 76 years in prison for the other charges after about three hours of deliberation.

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