Death sentence for Carlie Brucia’s killer vacated, 11-year-old murdered in Sarasota in 2004

Carlie Brucia file images

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) – A former auto mechanic found guilty of strangling an 11-year-old Sarasota girl, whose abduction was captured by a security camera and whose case garnered worldwide attention, will receive a new sentencing trial.

Circuit Judge Charles Roberts on Tuesday granted a part of Joseph Smith’s motion to vacate his death sentence for the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of Carlie Brucia.

In December 2005, a jury recommended death for Smith by a 10-2 vote and also imposed concurrent life terms for the sexual assault and kidnapping convictions.

In this latest ruling, Roberts ordered a new penalty phase trial, which does not overturn the verdict in the case. A date for the new sentencing trial has not yet been set.

Carlie Brucia’s mother Susan Schorpen was found dead from a heroin overdose earlier this year in Polk County.

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