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Cozzie Sentencing Set for October
Tuesday, 27 August 2013

August 27--  The man who killed Toombs County teenager Courtney Wilkes two years ago will receive his sentence in less than two months. 

According to our correspondent Angel McCurdy in Defuniak Springs, Walton County Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells will decide Oct. 17 whether Stephen Cozzie will be put to death or spend the rest of his life in prison.

Cozzie appeared in court last Thursday for the first time since a jury recommended that the 23-year-old Seagrove Beach man be sentenced to death for killing 15-year-old Courtney Wilkes on June 16, 2011.

Cozzie was convicted in June of first-degree premeditated murder for killing the Lyons, Ga., teenager in a wooded area along Cassine Gardens Nature Trail in Seagrove Beach.

Attorneys Spiro Kypreos and Sharon Williams again represented Cozzie during Thursday’s Spencer Hearing, which is meant to ensure the reliability of the penalty and the sentencing process.

The procedure was established to allow a trial judge to give a defendant the opportunity to be heard and to present evidence against a death sentence.

Cozzie did not speak at Thursday’s hearing.

His attorneys submitted a recorded police interview of a young Wisconsin girl who had spoken to Michael Spencer, prosecutor Bobby Elmore’s key witness, on the day Courtney Wilkes was killed.

Spencer testified at the trial that Cozzie showed him Wilkes’ body after she was beaten and raped. Kypreos tried to convince jurors that he was a liar.

Elmore said Friday that he wasn’t worried about the additional evidence. He said he had no evidence that hadn’t already been presented at the trial.

Both sides have 20 days to present a written memorandum to Wells.

“The law requires (Judge Wells) to give great weight to the jury’s recommendation,” Elmore said. “The jury recommended death by a unanimous 12-0 vote, so definitely the state will seek a death sentence.”


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