DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) - A Florida Panhandle man faces a possible death sentence for killing a teenage Georgia girl on vacation with her family.
A Walton County jury found 23-year-old Steven Cozzie guilty of first-degree murder, sexual battery, aggravated child abuse and kidnapping on Friday. The Northwest Florida Daily News reports that the penalty phase, where jurors recommend the death penalty or life in prison, begins next week.
Authorities say 15-year-old Courtney Wilkes was found dead in Seagrove Beach a day after she went missing in June 2011. She and her family had been visiting from Lyons, Ga.
Witnesses connected Cozzie to Wilkes, and he was arrested shortly after her body was found.