Justice is served

Actually, justice isn’t quite served. True justice would not have had 9 year old Jessica Lunsford raped and then murdered by being buried alive. Failing that, though, the fact that her killer got the death sentence is good news:

A convicted sex offender was sentenced Friday to death for kidnapping 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, raping her and burying her alive in his yard.

John Evander Couey looked straight ahead as Circuit Judge Ric Howard told him he should be executed for the 2005 crimes that led to new laws in many states cracking down on convicted sex offenders.

Sheriff’s deputies hustled the handcuffed inmate out of the crowded courtroom.

The girl’s father, Mark Lunsford, teared up as he listened to the judge read a detailed history of the case for nearly an hour. He hugged relatives after the sentence was read.

Outside court, Lunsford had a message for Couey: “Skip all these appeals. Take your punishment. Stand up and be a man.”

The jury that convicted Couey in March recommended 10-2 that he die for his crimes, but the decision was left to Howard.


The jury convicted Couey of taking the girl in February 2005 from her bedroom to his nearby trailer, sparking a massive search. The third-grader’s body was found about three weeks after she disappeared in a grave in Couey’s yard, about 150 yards from her own home.

Couey, already a convicted sex offender when he committed the crime, was arrested in Georgia and confessed to the killing. That confession was thrown out as evidence because Couey did not have a lawyer present.

Despite the confession being tossed, Couey incriminated himself other times. Jail guards and investigators testified that he repeatedly admitted details of the slaying after his arrest, insisting that he hadn’t meant to kill the third-grader but panicked during an intense, nationally publicized police search.

Prosecutors also had overwhelming physical evidence, including DNA from the girl’s blood and Couey’s semen on a mattress in his room as well as her fingerprints in a closet where investigators said she was hidden.

Howard recounted the evidence in detail, including Couey wrapping her in two garbage bags, putting her alive into a hole then piling a foot of dirt on top of her.

“His actions crushed the very breath and life out of Jessica Marie Lunsford,” Howard said.

“Jessica futilely poked two fingers out of the inner bag indicating that she was trying to dig her way out of what would become her grave,” Howard said. “Her last thoughts … cannot be fathomed.”

Couey has a criminal record that includes 24 burglary arrests, carrying a concealed weapon and indecent exposure. He was designated a sex offender for exposing himself to a 5-year-old girl in 1991.

I have to say that, every time I read about that little girl poking her two fingers out of the bag, it just makes my eyes tear. It’s such a horrible thought. I hope that Couey’s execution takes place soon. (To make myself more cheerful, here’s a good story about a child’s hand creeping out.)


12 Responses

  1. I feel sad that nobody could have intercepted Couey and dug the little girl and her stuffed toy back up in time.

    A wakizashi would be enough to gut him, should he try to resist or run away.

  2. I think justice would be served if he were to be raped and buried alive like Jessica was.

  3. I believe that justice is not servered until the killer is bound and forcibally raped and then buried alive. Humane treatment of criminals does not deter crime . Jessica can never be brought back but the killer should have to feel the same violation and fear and panic until death.

  4. The reality of capital punishment is that Couey will most likely die in prison of natural causes before the sentence is carried out.

  5. You two going to volunteer to rape him?

    Z, depends on if they are going California light. McVeigh got 1 year in jail then death, I believe, which was pretty speedy.

  6. Just lock him in a homosexual bar in Greenwich Village and let the Sanitation Dept remove the remains in 48 hours. Society has spent far too much on this poor impersonation of protoplasm as it is.

  7. Y, McVeigh was in the federal system. Couey is incarcerated and has been sentenced by the state of Florida. The average time spent on Death Row by an inmate in Florida is almost 13 years. That of course is an average, from state statistics, and time before sentence is carried out could be longer. Look for endless appeals in Couey’s case. He is very likely to die of natural causes before the death sentence is carried out. I’m not happy about that, but it is the reality of the administration of justice.

  8. With his record, “Couey has a criminal record that includes 24 burglary arrests, carrying a concealed weapon and indecent exposure. He was designated a sex offender for exposing himself to a 5-year-old girl in 1991.” why was he still on the street and not in the slammer??? This case tells us volumes about our system of “justice” and none of it is encouraging.

  9. It’s not justice, it’s process. Two different things.

  10. progressive progress, Z.


  12. I would support giving anyone a clean death, but death it would still be. However, I will never support the use of rape as punishment. For what I won’t inflict on a woman I also won’t inflict on a man as punishment. Of course, my personal list of possible execution methods is hard to beat unless you’ve picked apart history’s best and most creative offshoots.

    This is due to the fact that while other people’s standards are a sort of “eye for an eye” deal, limited by the creativity of the criminal in question, my execution and punishment methods are not limited by the creativity of the criminal. In fact, it is not limited at all. It is precisely because my standards are high that I support a quick and clean execution, for my personally favored methods would take either too long or take up too much resources to implement. It goes against the grain to copy a criminal’s methods, in my view, for we should be better than criminals. If a criminal executes an entire family because of whatever, then maybe the criminal should be kicked out from an airplane 10,000 feet up, while another skydiver with a camera records his process. MIght want to attach a camera to his harness facing the criminal’s face, as well, just in case the footage survives contact with the ground.

    One of the more merciful execution methods all in all. One last skydive before the end. More than most people get.

    In the end, Book, people like me favor efficiency in justice because anything else would take too long or simply be impractical. Also, justice is something the good guys practice, setting them apart from the bad. Which means that we get to use superior methods. Of killing, inflicting pain, and you know. I think it would be wrong for good people to use the crude methods of terrorists and criminals. I really do. Seems so unprincipled. If Couey rapes a girl and buries her alive, and we authorize his rape and buries him have, then how are we any better than him? I mean, I could perhaps see if you fitted this guy with a pressure suit and dropped him inside the Marianas Trench or something for him to die and then be buried by the depths, that this would make us better than him, but adopting the methods of criminals will never elevate us beyond their pettiness.

    Justice should be harsh, but it should also be efficient in order to grab as many potential criminals as possible. Efficiency and discipline will separate us from them, if nothing else.

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