Union County man sentenced to death for the murder of his 15-year-old daughter

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — A Union County man was sentenced to death on Friday for killing his 15-year-old daughter in August of 2019, according to Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey.

Investigators say Joshua Burgess strangled his daughter, Zaria Burgess, and then slit her throat inside his Wesley Chapel home when she was visiting for the weekend.

Burgess later walked into the sheriff’s office, turned himself in, and told deputies where to find her body.

Authorities have still not released a motive for the murder.

Channel 9′s Genevieve Curtis received a statement from the sheriff shortly after the jury sentenced Burgess to death.

It reads in part, “The defendant in this case, Joshua Burgess, is the essence of evil and stole Zaria from her friends, family, and local community. While we know Zaria is forever gone to us, we hope that todays verdict helps to bring some closure to Zaria’s family and friends and we will continue to keep them in our prayers each days.”

Zaria Burgess was a rising sophomore at Monroe High School. She was also a member of the marching band and dance team.

Zaria’s relative said she was a sweet teen who loved her family and made everyone smile.

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