Joshua Lee Burgess, a 35-year-old man from Union County, North Carolina, has been sentenced to death after he was convicted of murder and other charges for brutally raping and killing his 15-year-old daughter, Zaria, in 2019.
According to reports, Burgess sexually and psychologically tortured Zaria for 22 hours before he slit her throat. The incident happened at his home in Monroe when Zaria, who is living with her biological mother, paid a visit to him over the weekend.
“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, according to People. “This case was emotionally taxing for everyone involved. We continue to grieve with and pray for Zaria’s mother.”
After killing his daughter, Burgess reportedly went to the police station to confess to killing her. He told the police that Zaria’s body was at his house and gave them his address, where they found her dead.
A Union County jury sentenced Burgess to death on the murder charge and an additional minimum of nearly 76 years in prison for the other charges. The sentence was handed down after nearly 3 hours of deliberations following a 3-week trial.