Joshua Lee Burgess, 35, has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of 15-year-old Zaria Burgess.
According to a statement from the Union County District Attorney’s Office, the girl’s father slit her throat “after psychologically and sexually torturing her for 22 hours” at his Monroe, N.C., home on Aug. 18, 2019.
Burgess was also convicted of one count of statutory rape, three counts of statutory sex offense, and one count of first degree sexual exploitation of a minor, according to the statement.
He received a minimum of nearly 76 years in prison for those offenses in addition to the death sentence.
“This was truly an especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel killing of an innocent child. This case was emotionally taxing for everyone involved. We continue to grieve with and pray for Zaria’s mother,” the Union County District Attorney’s Office said.
Investigators say Zaria was murdered during a weekend visit to her father’s home. Following her death, Burgess walked into the Union County Sheriff’s Office (USCO) and confessed to killing her, telling deputies the girl’s body was still at his house.
According to WSOC-TV, Burgess strangled his daughter before slitting her throat.
Below are five beautiful photos of Zaria Burgess