'I hope he died remembering her'

Thursday, October 01, 2009

"Jessica Lunsford had a smile that could light up a room. The 9-year-old’s picture has been on almost every television station in the country.

Lunsford grew up in Gaston County, but moved to Florida with her father, Mark Lunsford, when she was in elementary school. In February of 2005 Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped, raped and buried alive by a registered sex offender. On Wednesday, that sex offender, John Couey, died from cancer while on death row in Florida."

Coueys death comes as a welcome end to the case and brings with it a sense of closure to the Lunsford family, who have dealt with what this man did to Jessica for years. Mark Lunsford commented on Coueys death:

Lunsford recalled telling Couey at his sentencing that Lunsford hoped Couey would see his daughter every day for the rest of his life.

"I hope he died remembering her," Lunsford said.

He said he was not aware Couey had cancer.

"Cancer is an awful disease," Lunsford said. "Today, it's a good disease."

One of the prosecutors who led the case against Couey, Assistant State Attorney Peter Magrino, commented:

"The sooner the better," he said. "It matters not to me how he died, just that he's now dead and will never be able to victimize anyone else again."

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