Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lauren Burk's Killer Sentenced to Death

By David in TN

Murder victim Lauren Burk

A major development occurred in a case we followed, and something I wasn't aware of. On March 2, Judge Jacob Walker overrode the recommendations of the jury and sentenced Courtney Lockhart to death for the murder of Lauren Burk. The judge has the final say under Alabama law. Walker decided Lockhart should be put to death, noting the defendant was suspected in other crimes the jurors didn't know about.
Lauren Burk's father made an emotional appeal asking Walker to overturn the jury's "life without parole" sentence. Burk said that Lockhart still had a daughter.
Seated at the defense table, Lockhart shouted out: "Don't bring my daughter into this."
Burk answered: "I wish you hadn't brought my daughter into it."
Isn't Lockhart's unhappiness at receiving a death sentence a sign of sanity?

NS: In Alabama, as in Tennessee, every death sentence receives an automatic appeal. If I were Lockhart's defense attorney, I would argue that the Judge violated the presumption of innocence, in assuming that my client was guilty of the other crimes for which he was suspected, and then applying said assumption in his sentencing decision.

With that said, I salute Judge Walker for doing the right thing, and hope that his decision survives the appeals process.


Lauren Burk's killer, Courtney Lockhart


Anonymous said...

A judge overriding a jury? There's no way this sentence will stand, everybody knows itparticularly given the racial angle, so it's just a waste of money. Worse, it will probably lead to a decision outlawing the imposition of the death penalty over a jury's recommendation under ANY circumstance.

Nicholas said...

While there will doubtless be a firestorm from the Society for the Protection of Black Murderers, Alabama law says that the trial judge may do exactly what this one did.

Anonymous said...

It is surprising this hasn't received more publicity. I would have expected the New York Times and others to be editorializing against the Judge's decision.

If they did, it would bring national attention to the crime. You almost wonder if this is why the decision hasn't been attacked (so far) in the MSM.

David In TN

Anonymous said...

This animal deserves to be destroyed immediately. I'm sure Sharpton and Jessie just can't wait to have this one hit the papers right before he's fried, I might add this also gives the looters hope J & S show up so they can destroy the town. Hopefully he will b killed in prison or commits sucide!

Anonymous said...

Come on now...the judge is under no obligation to follow the jury's recommendation. He/she can choose to follow it or not. From what I understand about the case, the accused openly admitted to the crime, so the only defense was his level of sanity. Good for this judge!

David In TN said...

The Supreme Court, led by Justice Sotomayor, has this one in their sites this week due to the Judge's overide.

Nicholas said...

Apparently, only Sotomayor and Breyer opposed the overrides.

David In TN said...

I just sent you the New York Times piece. It was from last month, not this week.