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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 March 2007, 07:54 GMT
US man guilty of child sex murder
John Evander Couey
John Evander Couey was already a registered sex offender
A man has been convicted in Florida of kidnapping, raping and murdering a nine-year-old girl in a case that sparked a national drive on sex crimes.

John Evander Couey, 48, snatched Jessica Lunsford from her bed and later buried her alive in a plastic bag.

The case led Florida to pass "Jessica's Law" of longer sentences and lifetime tracking of paedophiles. Other states followed suit with tough new laws.

Couey could face the death penalty when sentencing is heard next week.

Satellite tracking

The jury took four hours to reach its verdict in a Miami court, finding Couey guilty of first-degree murder, sexual battery on a child, kidnapping and burglary.

Jessica Lunsford
Jessica Lunsford was snatched from her home in February 2005

The case had been dogged by problems.

There was an earlier mistrial because an impartial jury could not be found and an alleged confession by Couey was thrown out because no lawyer was present.

Jessica had been snatched from her home in February 2005. Couey was living in a trailer only 150 yards away.

Couey was a registered sex offender but had not told authorities where he was living as required by law.

After Jessica's killing, Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed into law measures imposing mandatory sentences of 25 years to life for people who molested children under 12.

In addition any child sex offender eventually released from prison would be ordered to wear a satellite-tracking device for the rest of their lives.

Other states also passed tough new laws on child sex offences.


SEE ALSO
Florida paedophile law is signed
03 May 05 |  Americas

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