SARASOTA (FOX 13) - The kidnapping and murder of Carlie Brucia gripped the Bay Area more than a decade ago.
Her killer, Joseph Smith has been on death row, awaiting execution. But now he's getting a new sentencing hearing.
It's been 12 years since Joseph Smith was sentenced to death here at the Sarasota County courthouse. Now, he'll be brought back to Sarasota and re-sentenced, under a new law, leaving many people worried he may never be put to death for his horrific crime.
In 2004 - on Super Bowl Sunday – 11-year-old Carlie Brucia was abducted as she walked past a car wash on Bee Ridge Road. Surveillance video from the car wash showed a man walking up to her, grabbing her arm, and then leading her away.
The video was seen all over the country as her abduction captured the nation's attention.
A few days later, Carlie’s body was found in the woods near a Sarasota church. Deputies identified her killer as Joseph Smith.
A jury convicted Smith and during the sentencing phase sent him to death on a 10-2 vote.
But the U.S. Supreme Court recently forced changes to the law - and death sentences now require a unanimous jury verdict. For that reason, Joseph Smith will be re-sentenced.
While he could still get the death penalty, there's a chance he could also get a life prison sentence instead.
Former investigators on the case say this will reopen a lot of wounds for Carlie’s family and the community.
“I understand Judge Roberts why he had to make the decision he had to make,” former Sarasota County Sheriff William Balkwill explained. “It's not over with by any means and it's unfortunate when these laws change that they don't change from that point on and they're allowed to go back in time over something when nobody knew what the circumstances were for back then.”
“They now have to relive this horrific incident, prior to Super Bowl Sunday 2004, 11-year-old girls in Sarasota County could walk down Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota County. After that day they no longer could,” said Retired Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Toby Davis.
Carlie's mother, Susan Schorpen recently passed away. But her father, Joe Brucia told us by phone his family will do whatever it takes to see Joseph Smith serve the death penalty.
They say they've written letters to attorney general Pam Bondi asking for her help and they don't want Carlie’s memory to be lost.
A date for Smith's re-sentencing will most likely be picked during a hearing in late August, with the actual sentencing happening later this year or early next year.