Friday, June 30, 2006

Judge Tosses Confession in Lunsford Case

Some regional news that hits a little close to home.

In 2005, 9 year old Jessica Lunsford was abducted. Jessica lived in my "Florida home" of Citrus County. It was the kind of horrific crime that inflames an entire community. My nieces assisted in the search. Weeks later, Jessica was found buried, dead, clutching a stuffed animal.

John Evander Couey was arrested in Augusta, Ga. on an unrelated charge and in questioning by Florida law enforcement confessed to the killing.

Now, Florida Circuit Judge Ric Howard has disallowed that confession. Couey alledgedly requested an attorney and was denied. Judge Howard is still allowing the very damaging evidence discovered in Couey's trailer that led to the discovery of Jessica's body. This evidence alone may be enough to convict Couey.

On the basis of the initial news report, I believe the judge was right. I also believe that Couey will still be convicted.

This entire case brings backs unpleasant memories of Georgia's Alday murders. That horrible day and its aftermath in 1973 haunted the Donaldsonville community for 30 years.

No matter what happens in the Lunsford case, my hope if that justice is done and the community will be able to heal and move on.


Sara said...


Considering the amount of publicity that has centered around the confession, I doubt it will much matter. The people from whom the jury pool will be selected will still know he confessed and judge's instructions to disregard that knowledge can only do so much.

I'm really surprised the judge had the balls to throw out the confession. Considering the fever pitch of that town right now, I'd be mighty afraid if I were him.

Sara said...

And interestingly enough, on the back page of the Fulton County Daily Report I see the judge in the Alday murders case (the one who refused to move the trial of Carl Isaacs due to pretrial publicity) died on Tuesday. Former federal district court Judge J. Robert Elliot, who retired in 2000 after being the one of the longest-serving federal judges, was 96.