North Carolina Man Sentenced to Death for Rape, Murder of His Teenage Daughter


The 15-year-old victim was visiting her father at the time she was killed in 2019.

A North Carolina jury has sentenced a man to death for the 2019 rape and murder of his 15-year-old daughter, according to reports.

Joshua Lee Burgess, 35, was sentenced to death Friday after he was convicted of murder and other charges for killing his daughter, Zaria, in 2019, the Union County District Attorney’s Office announced, according to the New York Post.

On August 18, 2019, Burgess slit his daughter’s throat after sexually and psychologically torturing her for 22 hours at his home in Monroe, the New York Post reported.

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

At the time of Burgess's arrest, cops said that he had walked into a sheriff's office and confessed to the killing, ABC News reported.

Detectives said that while he explained why he did the act, his primary motives for the killing appeared to be lust and control, People reported.

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

He received an additional minimum of nearly 76 years in prison for those offenses, according to Union County District Attorney’s Office.

Zaria, who lived with her mother, was killed when she visited her father that weekend in August 2019, according to reports.

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