Rapist, murderer sentenced next month

Prosecutors say the man convicted of abducting, raping and killing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford will be sentenced next month.

Before Circuit Judge Richard Howard decides whether John Couey will get the death penalty, the court has to determine whether Couey is even eligible.

A hearing to determine whether Couey is mentally retarded is scheduled for next week. If that is the case, Couey will not be eligible for the death penalty.

A jury in March convicted 48-year-old Couey of taking Jessica from her bed, raping her and burying her alive in his yard. They recommended 10 to 2 that he get the death penalty. The final sentencing decision will be left to Judge Howard on August 10.

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