Joshua Burgess, a North Carolina father, was sentenced to death on Friday for raping, torturing, and killing his 15-year-old daughter in 2019. Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey announced the verdict.
Zaria Burgess was visiting her father for the weekend at his Wesley Chapel home, according to WSOC-TV, when he strangled her before slicing her throat.
Burgess “psychologically and sexually” tormented his daughter for 22 hours before killing her, according to the Union County District Attorney’s Office, according to The Washington Post. Burgess went to the sheriff’s office after the incident to confess to the murder and report himself in. He also revealed the location of her body to deputies.
“Burgess was convicted of one count of statutory rape, three counts of a statutory sex offense, and one count of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, in addition to one count of first-degree murder,” the statement said, adding that Burgess “received an additional minimum of nearly 76 years in prison for those offenses.”
Burgess cited several motives for killing his daughter during his confession. However, according to PEOPLE, Union County Sheriff’s Office detectives believe the guilty guy was motivated mostly by desire and control.
Sheriff Eddie Cathey said, “The defendant, in this case, Joshua Burgess, is the essence of evil and snatched Zaria from her friends, family, and the local community.” “While we know Zaria will always be with us, we hope that today’s verdict brings some closure to Zaria’s family and friends, and we will continue to pray for them every day.”
According to WSOC-TV, Zaria was a high school sophomore who was a member of her school’s marching band and dance squad. Dytaysha Wadsworth, Zaria’s cousin, said in the aftermath of her murder that the deceased victim “was so young, and nobody deserves to leave this world like that.”
Wadsworth continued, “Especially by someone they thought would protect them and be there for them.”