A death row inmate who raped and killed an 11-year-old girl has been found dead inprison.
Joseph Smith, 55, abducted Carlie Brucia on February 1, 2004, as she walked home from a friend’s house in the city of Sarasota, Florida, the US.
In chilling CCTV footage, he was seen leading her away from a carwash.
Smith then raped and strangled her before dumping the body behind a church.
He was sentenced to death in 2006, and was on death row at the Union Correctional Institution.
Smith passed away on Monday morning, July 26, with the cause of death yet to be confirmed, the Bradenton Herald-Tribune reports.
State Attorney Ed Brodsky said in a statement: “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.”
Smith was a convicted drug abuser and unemployed mechanic with an extensive criminal record, and had recently violated his probation before the killing.
Carlie's dad Joe Brucia learned that Smith had died around 9am on Monday.
He told the Saratoga-Herald Tribune: "Now Joe's getting the punishment he deserves. He's going to rot in hell.''
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The victim’s mum Susan Schorpen died of a heroin overdose in 2017, aged just 47.
After Smith was found guilty, she said: "If I could speak to him I'd like to know why he chose my daughter and why he had to kill her.”
She also yelled at his transport van as he was driven out of the courthouse garage, screaming: “I hope you rot in hell.”
Earlier this month, a killer who knifed a bodybuilder through the heart was found dead in prison.
Marius Bauba was discovered by guards at HMP Shotts in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, on Saturday, July 24.
The dad-of-one was pronounced dead at Wishaw General Hospital, with police now investigating.
Bauba fatally stabbed Morgan Dunn, 34, at a property in Ayr on February 8 last year, theDaily Recordreports.
The pair, who did not know each other, had posed for a photo at the mutual friend’s house before an argument broke out in the kitchen.
Mr Dunn appeared to reach for a knife on a worktop, but Bauba got there first and stabbed him twice in the chest.
He later pleaded guilty to culpable homicide at Glasgow's High Court and was sentenced to nine years and nine months in prison.
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