Lauren Burk's Killer Gets Death Sentence

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LEE COUNTY, Ala.,None - A man convicted of killing an Auburn University student from Marietta received a death sentence Wednesday afternoon.

In November, the defendant, Courtney Lockhart, was convicted of killing Lauren Burk. Detectives said Lockhart robbed and kidnapped Burk from her Auburn apartment three years ago, forced her to undress as he drove her around then shot her as she tried to escape by jumping out of a moving car.

After finding him guilty, the jury recommended a sentence of life without parole. But in Alabama, the final decision rests with a judge. Judge Jacob Walker decided to override the jury's recommendation and went with a death sentence.

Channel 2's Richard Elliot attended the sentencing hearing at a courtroom in Lee County, Ala. The hearing was briefly interrupted when Lockhart began shouting in the courtroom.

When Burk's father, Jim, read a statement supporting a death sentence, Lockhart interrupted him.

"I hope your daughter doesn't go through what you put my daughter through," Burk said from the witness stand.

Lockhart became visibly upset. He told the judge he felt Burk's pain, then added loudly, "I'm sorry." Then, he said, "Don't bring my daughter into it."

Burk replied, "I wish you hadn't brought my daughter into it."

Deputies quickly surrounded Lockhart and diffused the situation.

Burk's statement read in part, "God ultimately judges us all, no one escapes his judgment. No one should have to endure what we have been though, and what we have lost. Taking Lauren's life was senseless and caused more pain to our family than I have the ability to express."


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