Jury recommends life for vet in Auburn student killing

By: AP
By: AP

OPELIKA, Ala. -- A jury has recommended a sentence of life in prison without parole for a former Army soldier convicted of capital murder in the abduction and shooting death of an Auburn University student from Georgia.

The jury voted 12-0 Thursday to recommend life without parole for 26-year-old Courtney Lockhart, who had claimed he was mentally disturbed from his deployment in Iraq. The jurors could have sentenced him to death by lethal injection.

Lockhart, of rural Smith Station, was convicted in the killing of 18-year-old freshman Lauren Burk of Marietta, Ga.

Circuit Judge Jacob Walker, who presided over the trial, is not bound by the jury's recommendation. He tentatively set sentencing for Jan. 28.

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