SARASOTA, Fla. – The 39-year-old man convicted of abducting, raping and killing 11-year-old Carlie Brucia was sentenced Wednesday to death by lethal injection.
"The scales of life and death tip unquestionably toward death," said Circuit Judge Andrew Owens.
Before announcing Joseph Smith's death punishment on the charge of first-degree murder, the judge said Smith faces life in prison without the possibility of parole for the assault and kidnapping of his victim.
Owens then agreed with the jury's earlier 10-to-2 recommendation that be executed. Smith showed no emotion as Owens read either sentence.
"Carlie endured unspeakable trauma, which began at the time of her kidnapping," the judge said before announcing the sentence. "The image of the defendant taking her arm and leading her away no doubt will forever be etched in our minds."
During the sexual and physical abuse Carlie was subjected to, the judge said, "at 11 years of age, there is no doubt she was aware of her dire predicament and that she had little or no hope of survival."
He added: "Her death was conscious less and pitiless ... calculated and premeditated."
The judge was required by law to give great weight to that recommendation when he makes his ruling but was not bound to that recommendation. Smith has 30 days to appeal the sentence and punishment meted out by the court.
Carlie's stepfather, Steven Kansler, buried his face in his hands as Owens read details of the crimes before sentencing Smith.
"I thought I'd feel a lot different," Kansler said afterward. "But it still hurts. It doesn't change anything. I just feel that Carlie has been heard. Her soul is gone now. Now it's just a matter of time to wait to watch Joe Smith die."
During a hearing last month, Smith tearfully apologized for his crimes, telling the judge that he took large amounts of heroin and cocaine in an attempt to kill himself on the day he abducted Brucia in 2004.
Smith said he did not remember much about that day and asked the judge to spare him for the sake of his family.
The abduction of Brucia was caught by a security camera. Her body was found four days after her disappearance on the grounds of a church in Sarasota.
Brucia's mother, Susan Schorpen, was not in the courtroom for the sentencing, as she is currently in a Florida jail on drug and prostitution charges. Schorpen has said the pain of losing her daughter led her to take drugs to numb the pain commit herself three times.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.