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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 without bail.
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 dark sunglasses.
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 Lunsfords.
"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)
Mike Branom

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