NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Florida man convicted of Carlie Brucia's murder dies in custody

Posted at 12:54 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 12:54:32-04

A man who was on death row for kidnapping, raping and killing 11-year-old Carlie Brucia in Sarasota in 2004 died in custody, according to State Attorney Ed Brodsky.

In a press release, Brodsky's office said Joseph Smith died on Monday morning. The release did not list a cause of death.

"While nothing can bring back Carlie, we are grateful that her family, her friends, and the entire Sarasota community will finally have closure and will not have to endure any further court proceedings to bring Smith to justice," the release said.

RELATED: Neglected, vandalized memorial garden for 11-year-old girl needs help being cleaned up

Smith was on death row awaiting re-sentencing. He was sentenced to death in 2006 by a 10-2 vote, but a supreme court ruling overturned the decision after a case ruling that death sentences require a unanimous vote.

RELATED: State files motion to reinstate death penalty for man convicted of raping, killing 11-year-old girl

The 2004 case received national publicity after a surveillance camera captured images of Smith approaching Brucia, grabbing her arm, and leading her away. It was the last time she was seen alive. Her body was found days later in a wooded area behind Central Church of Christ in Sarasota.

Carlie Brucia (r), as seen on surveillance camera at a car wash, Sarasota, Florida, video still