Pedophile Admits Murdering Girl, 9
A CONVICTED sex offender entered a Florida home through an
unlocked door, snatched a nine-
year-old girl from her bed and later
sexually assaulted and murdered
her, authorities said yesterday.
Medical examiners confirmed
Jessica Lunsford had been sexually
assaulted after examining her body.
But because suspect John
Evander Couey was under the influence of drugs, detectives may never
know how long she was held before
she was killed, Citrus County Sheriff
Jeff Dawsy said yesterday.
The sheriff released new details of
the attack on the same day Couey
was returned to Florida in shackles.
He was booked on a probation
violation and failure to register as a
sex offender. He was being held
Couey, 46, confessed to kidnapping and killing Jessica after taking
a lie-detector test on Saturday in
Georgia, officials said.
The girl's body was found on Sunday, more than three weeks after she
vanished from her bedroom.
Jessica's father, in an emotional
statement, expressed a desire to
mete out justice of his own.
"I wont get the wish, but I wish
I could see him. Just one time." said
Mark Lunsford, his eyes hidden by
Mr Lunsford said he and his relatives would soon begin planning
Jessica's funeral, Couey has not yet
been charged in her death, although
this is expected soon.
At Jessica's church, the pastor
asked for prayers for the
"Lord, we don't always understand your ways," the Reverend William LaVerie Coats
told 175 grieving people during services at Faith Baptist
Church, where many people saw the
girl for the last time on the night she
disappeared. "We accept what has
taken place here, and ask that you
would give us some peace."
Mr Coats asked churchgoers to
forgive Couey but Mr Lunsford said
that would be difficult.
"He (Couey) needs to stand up
and be a man now and take his death
penalty," he said.
Couey, wearing a bulletproof vest,
was returned to Florida at night in
an unmarked sheriff's vehicle.
He was being held in isolation at
the jail for his safety.
Jessica, a third-grader, was last
seen in February when she went to
bed after attending church. She was
found to be missing the next day.
Her body was found near a mobile
home where Couey had been staying
at the time of the abduction, about
135m from Jessica's house.
Couey's half-sister and two others
who lived in the home have been
charged with obstructing police for
failing to notify authorities when
Couey allegedly told them he had
committed a crime.
Adelaide Advertiser (22-3-2005)