Mom: 'Where's The Closure?'

Susan Schorpen, mother of Carlie Brucia, weeps with Judy Cornett, right, as the guilty verdict is read for Joseph Smith at the Sarasota County Judicial Center in Sarasota, Fla., Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005. The jury deliberated for about five hours before convicting Smith, 39, of first-degree murder, kidnapping and capital sexual battery of Brucia. He now faces the possibility of receiving the death penalty at sentencing set for Nov. 28 before the same jury.
A mechanic with a long criminal record was convicted Thursday of kidnapping, raping and strangling an 11-year-old girl whose abduction was captured by a car-wash security camera.

Joseph Smith, 39, could get the death penalty.

The jury took about five hours to find him guilty in the slaying of Carlie Brucia, whose half-naked body was found outside a church more than four days after the sixth-grader disappeared in February 2004 while walking home from a friend's house.

Smith was arrested after being identified as the burly, tattooed man in a mechanic's uniform who was seen taking the girl by the wrist and leading her away in a grainy video that was broadcast nationwide during the search for the killer.

Prosecutors built their case on the footage, the testimony of Smith's friends and co-workers who said they recognized Smith in the video, DNA and hair-analysis evidence, and the word of the defendant's brother, who said Smith confessed.

Smith, who did not take the stand, showed no emotion when the verdict was read. The jury will return for the sentencing phase on Nov. 28.

Carlie's mother, Susan Schorpen, wept softly with her head bowed when the verdict was read, and the girl's father, Joe Brucia, nodded when each of the three convictions was announced. As he left court, he said only that he was happy with the verdict.

"I can never hold her again. Where's the closure?" Schorpen said outside the courthouse. "I've lost one of the most precious things to me in my life because of an animal, a disgusting, perverted animal."

When asked if she was satisfied with the verdict, she responded: "When he's dead. When he meets his maker."

CBS Tampa affiliate WTSP reports that the town of Sarasota reacted enthusiastically to the verdict, beeping car horns and cheering as they heard the news over the radio.

Carlie's killing spurred the introduction of federal and state legislation to crack down on probation violators.