Union County Man Sentenced To Death For Raping, Brutally Killing Daughter



A Union County jury sentenced a man to death on Friday for the brutal rape and murder of his 15-year-old daughter.

Authorities say Joshua Burgess, 35, killed 15-year-old Zaria in August of 2019 after torturing her for 22 hours at his home off Airport Road in Monroe, N.C.

In addition to one count of first degree murder, Burgess was convicted of one count of statutory rape, three counts of statutory sex offense, and one count of first degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

Authorities say he received an additional minimum of nearly 76 years in prison for those offenses.

Original Story (8/20/19):

UNION COUNTY, NC — A Union County man is facing multiple charges after authorities say he raped and brutally killed his 15-year-old daughter over the weekend.

“I think a lot of people are just in shock about it,” said one neighbor, “it’s a good neighborhood. Quiet. It’s just an awful thing to happen. Tragic.”

Union County deputies say 15 year old Zaria Burgess was raped and killed by her 32 year old father, Joshua Burgess, while visiting him at his home. The medical examiner says she had been stabbed in the neck.

“There is no logical answer for how any person could do this type of crime to any person, let alone your own child,” said Tony Underwood, a spokesperson with the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

Burgess went to the UCSO on Sunday morning, where he told detectives the disturbing details about the crime he had claimed to have just committed.

“This just kind of caught us all off guard,” said Underwood.

He says Burgess confessed to killing his daughter. He was calm and showed no emotion while giving specific details about the rape and murder, according to Underwood.

“There was nothing incoherent. Nothing that would have suggest he didn’t know what he was doing,” said Underwood.

An indescribable crime. A father taking his own daughter’s life. The neighborhood is now shaken with sorrow.

“It’s horrible. Just pray for the family,” said the neighbor.

Burgess was additionally charged with one count of Statutory Rape of a Person 15 Years of Age or Younger, First Degree Statutory Sex Offense, First Degree Kidnapping and First Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.

This is an ongoing investigation. Check back for updates.