Carlie Brucia’s killer dies in Florida prison, officials say

Sarasota County
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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) —  Joseph Smith, the man convicted of killing an 11-year-old girl in Sarasota in 2004 has died at a Florida prison, the State Attorney’s Office said. No cause of death was released.

State Attorney Ed Brodsky’s office said it was notified by the Attorney General’s Office that Smith had died in prison Monday morning.

Smith, 55, was on death row for the 2004 murder of Carlie Brucia.

Brucia disappeared while walking home from a friend’s house on Feb. 1, 2004. Her body was found days later in the woods behind a church after Smith confessed to her murder.

Joseph Smith (Florida Department of Corrections)

In Nov. 2005, Smith was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing Brucia. In March 2006, the jury voted in favor of the death sentence, but was not unanimous, creating issues years later when the Supreme Court ruled nonunanimous death sentences were unconstitutional.

Smith was due to be resentenced for the case, but the Florida Supreme Court said the resentencing would not affect his conviction.

“While nothing can bring back Carlie, we are grateful that her family, her friends and the entire Sarasota community will finally have closure and will not have to endure any further court proceedings to bring Smith to justice,” the State’s Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

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