The confession of a man charged with kidnapping, raping and killing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford isn’t admissible in court, but the discovery of her body can be used as evidence, a judge ruled Friday.
John Evander Couey, a 47-year-old convicted sex offender, gave the confession to detectives, but also told them that he wanted to consult a lawyer. He wasn’t given the opportunity to do so.
“This is a material and a profound violation of one of the most bedrock principles of criminal law,” Circuit Judge Ric Howard said in issuing the ruling Friday.
Jessica was found kneeling and clutching a stuffed animal, hands tied with speaker wire and fingers poking through the garbage bags in which she was buried alive in February 2005. Two days earlier, Couey told detectives he had kidnapped, raped and killed the girl, and he told them where to find the body.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Couey, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated murder, burglary, kidnapping and sexual battery. Jury selection for his trial is expected to start July 10.
Couey and Jessica both lived in the Homosassa area. After Jessica disappeared, Couey fled the area as the search for the missing girl zeroed in on registered sex offenders in the area.
He was arrested in Georgia on an unrelated Florida warrant, and gave the confession in an Augusta, Ga., sheriff’s office to two detectives who traveled from Florida to interview him.
Thank goodness there appears to be enough independent evidence to convict this scum. This man needs to fry for his brutal killing of this little girl.