Sentencing Phase Underway in Georgia Teen's Murder - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Sentencing Phase Underway in Georgia Teen's Murder

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Courtney Wilkes Courtney Wilkes
Walton Co., FL -

The first day of the penalty phase of the Steven Cozzie murder trial got underway with emotional testimony from the family of murdered Lyons, GA teen Courtney Wilkes. 

Wilkes, who was 15, was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and killed while on vacation to Florida's Gulf Coast with her family. 

The victim's mother and father took the stand to talk about how the loss their daughter has impacted their life.  

 "It's like a third of my heart is ripped off. I still have two kids that need me and they understand. She was my first, she was special. She was our hopes, our dreams. She was going to do something to change the world and make it better," said Toni Wilkes.   

When asked by the prosecution to reflect on the day that Courtney was kidnapped, her father, Cordy Wilkes, said he knew he would never see his daughter again,  "Well after a period of time when we had not seen her or heard from her we pretty much came to the realization that she wasn't coming back-- just because I knew Courtney,"  he told the court.  Sadly, he was right.

 

In a surprise development last week, Cozzie admitted guilt in the murder in hopes of sparing himself from the death penalty.  He still faces the possibility of that, though, after being found guilty of first degree murder. 

 

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