Judge imposes death penalty, outbursts delay trial - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Judge imposes death penalty, outbursts delay trial

Courtney Lockhart in court on November 18, 2010. Courtney Lockhart in court on November 18, 2010.
Photo taken from a public online memorial dedicated to Burk on Facebook.com. Photo taken from a public online memorial dedicated to Burk on Facebook.com.
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By Web Staff –  email

AUBURN, AL (WTVM)  - A judge in a murder trial overrode the jury's recommendation and is imposing the death penalty for 26-year-old Courtney Lockhart.

The sentencing trial was delayed for five minutes when the man convicted of killing an Auburn University student, Lauren Burk, shouted out at the victim's father in court Wednesday.

Not long after taking the stand, Burk's father remarked he hopes Lockhart's daughter never goes through what Lauren Burk went through.  

Lockhart screamed back from his seat, "I'm sorry for what happened, but don't bring my daughter into this!" That's when sheriff's deputies converged on him.

Wednesday morning, the state asked Judge Jacob Walker to override the jury recommendation and impose the death sentence.  Judge Walker says told the courtroom that Lockhart, an Iraq War veteran, deserved the death sentence and was suspected in other crimes that the jury did not know about.

Lockhart, of Smiths Station, AL, was convicted of capital murder in November of last year for the March 2008 killing Lauren Burk of Marietta, GA.  That jury unanimously recommended that Lockhart be sentenced to life without parole.

[Watch: Jury finds Lockhart guilty of capital murder ]

WTVM's reporter, Elizabeth White, is following this story. We'll have a full report beginning on News Leader 9 at Five.

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 Previous Stories

  • Burk family reacts to Lockhart verdict
  • Witnesses brought in for Courtney Lockhart trial
  • Change of venue denied in Lockhart case
  • New trial date set in capital murder trial of Courtney Lockhart
  • Lockhart confesses to murder; formal plea not admitted
  • Click here for additional stories on this capital murder trial.
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