Sentencing could wrap up soon in FL murder trial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Man could be sentenced soon in FL murder trial

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Steven Cozzie Steven Cozzie

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, FL (WTOC) - A man convicted of murder in the 2011 death of a Lyons teenager could be sentenced as early as Wednesday.

The fate of Steven Cozzie is in the hands of a Florida jury who convicted him of murder and other charges in the death of 15-year-old Courtney Wilkes. The jury is deciding whether to recommend life in prison or the death penalty.

During Tuesday's sentencing hearing, another teen girl from Kentucky testified that she was also attacked by Steven Cozzie - just days before he killed Courtney Wilkes from Toombs County.

But the girl said that a few minutes into the attack, Cozzie suddenly stopped. She then ran into a group of people who helped her find her family.

But for some reason, police were never called. The girl didn't come forward until April 2013, a year and 10 months after the attack.

Courtney's mother and father took the stand during the first day of the penalty phase to talk about how the loss of their daughter has affected their life.

"You lose a part of your soul - a part of your heart. She's the one that - your first born is usually the one you look toward to be the one next in line to take care of things when your time comes," said Courtney's father Cordy Wilkes.

Jurors must make the recommendation, but it will ultimately be up to the judge which sentence Cozzie receives. 

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