Who is Joshua Lee Burgess? North Carolina man gets DEATH SENTENCE for rape and murder of teen daughter

Burgess was convicted of one count of statutory rape, three counts of statutory sex offense, and one count of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor


                            Who is Joshua Lee Burgess? North Carolina man gets DEATH SENTENCE for rape and murder of teen daughter
Joshua Lee Burgess (L) was sentenced to death for brutally murdering his daughter Zaria (R) (Union County District Attorney's Office/Facebook)
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TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains information about sexual abuse that some readers may find traumatic. Discretion is advised.

WESLEY CHAPEL, NORTH CAROLINA: Joshua Burgess, 35, was sentenced to death on Friday, June 3, 2022, for sexually abusing and killing his 15-year-old daughter Zaria at his home in Monroe on August 18, 2019. A Union County jury took three hours to decide that the 35-year-old man should be sentenced to death for brutally murdering his teen daughter after torturing and raping her. The sentence comes after a three-week trial.

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Union County District Attorney's Office on June 4 announced the death sentence on their official Facebook page. "On August 18, 2019, Burgess killed 15-year-old Zaria by slitting her throat after psychologically and sexually torturing her for 22 hours at his home off Airport Road in Monroe. In addition to one count of first-degree murder, Burgess was convicted of one count of statutory rape, three counts of statutory sex offense, and one count of first degree sexual exploitation of a minor. He received an additional minimum of nearly 76 years in prison for those offenses. District Attorney Trey Robison would like to thank the men and women of the jury who gave their time and effort in this very emotional case and helped bring closure to Zaria’s family and friend," the post read.

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The post further added, "This was truly an especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel killing of an innocent child. This case was emotionally taxing for everyone involved. We continue to grieve with and pray for Zaria’s mother."


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Zaria Burgess lived with her biological mother but was visiting her father for the weekend at the time of her killing. She was a rising sophomore at Monroe High School and was a member of the marching band and dance team at the time of her death, WCNC reported.

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According to the New York Post, after killing Zaria, Burgess had walked into the police station and confessed to the murder the same day. He reportedly also informed the police where they could locate Zaria’s body and his address.

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The case was investigated by the Union County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by DA Trey Robison and ADA Mary Beth Usher, with the significant assistance of ADA Cristin Dunne and DA Office Investigator Ronnie Watkins.

If you or anyone you know suspects child abuse, you are urged to immediately call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential and the hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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