SARASOTA, Fla. – The brother of a man accused of raping and strangling an 11-year-old girl wiped his eyes Wednesday as he recounted how his sibling described sexually assaulting and killing the girl.
John Smith testified that his brother, Joseph Smith, told him that he had "rough sex" with Carlie Brucia and then strangled her. The abduction was captured by a security camera at a car wash and broadcast worldwide on television.
The phone conversation took place four nights after Carlie was abducted, while Joseph Smith was in jail and John Smith was leading detectives to the location where his brother had told him the girl's body might be found, John Smith said.
Joseph Smith, a 39-year-old former auto mechanic and father of three daughters, is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and capital sexual battery in Carlie's death. He has pleaded not guilty; if convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Joseph Smith met with his brother and their mother, Patricia Davis, in jail shortly after his arrest on an unrelated charge four days after Carlie disappeared. He confessed to his role in Carlie's disappearance under their questioning, John Smith testified.
Mumbling and occasionally closing his eyes on the witness stand, John Smith recounted the jailhouse conversation. His brother told him he had intercourse with the girl and made her perform oral sex. Davis left the room crying, and the brothers cried and "were hugging each other close," John Smith said.
After leaving the jail, John Smith and Davis drove to a nearby church where Joseph told him they might find Carlie. They didn't find the body that day, and they didn't tell authorities about their conversation with Joseph until later that night, when John Smith led investigators to the scene. Carlie's body was found the next morning.
"I was thinking, maybe, the child was still alive," John Smith said.
John Smith testified that he had recognized his brother in the videotape shown to jurors Tuesday as the tattooed man in a uniform grabbing Carlie's arm and leading her away. Several others, including Joseph Smith's business partner, testified Tuesday they also recognized him on the tape.
Under questioning by a defense attorney, John Smith acknowledged he hadn't talked to his brother in a couple of months at the time of Carlie's disappearance because of a feud. He also conceded he asked investigators about a reward, but said he was interested in it because his brother wanted to use the money to set up a trust fund for his children.