Investigation Discovery’s ‘See No Evil: Come Home Carlie’ is an episode that chronicles a 2004 case that shook Florida and the United States of America to its very core. While much of the nation was watching Super Bowl XXXVIII, 11-year-old Carlie Jane Brucia was abducted, raped, and killed in Sarasota while making her way home from a sleepover at her friend’s house. It took a few days, but thanks to tips, surveillance footage, forensic technology, and the help of various law enforcement agencies, Joseph Smith was identified as her perpetrator. So now, if you’re here wondering where he currently is, we’ve got the details for you.
Who is Joseph Smith?
Joseph Peter Smith is a former auto-mechanic who was renting out a room near his family home in 2004 because of marital problems. As a father of three daughters, he apparently wanted to be near them at all times. However, his extensive criminal record showed otherwise. By early 2004, the then-37-year-old had been arrested in the state of Florida at least 13 times since 1993. His previous felony charges included kidnapping and false imprisonment, possession of illegal substances, and attempted fraud.
Therefore, when several people, including his brother, identified him as the man in the CCTV footage where Carlie was last seen alive, he was interrogated. Joseph had been in custody on an unrelated parole violation charge since the day after Carlie’s abduction, so the officers had no problem tracking him down. Yet, despite his kidnapping history and the clip, Joseph wasn’t officially charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, and capital sexual battery until February 20, 2004 – until DNA linked him to the crime.
Where is Joseph Smith Now?
During the trial, the prosecutors presented the carwash surveillance tape from where Joseph had abducted Carlie and called upon witnesses who testified to identifying him from the footage. As the video showed the assailant having a few tattoos, each of them was recognized as Joseph’s in court as well. Joseph’s brother, John, who had helped the police in the matter by getting the former to confess during a jail visit, also testified. Yet, the most incriminating evidence against the mechanic was the DNA left on Carlie’s shirt in the form of semen.
Therefore, in the fall of 2005, after less than six hours of deliberation, the jury found Joseph guilty of all the charges against him. In December, they voted 10 to 2 in favor of the death penalty. Thus, in March 2006, he was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the murder charge and two life imprisonment terms for capital sexual battery and kidnapping. During the hearing, Joseph cried and apologized for his actions, claiming that he felt so guilty for what he did to Carlie that he tried to kill himself by overdosing on heroin and cocaine on the day of the murder itself. He even asked the judge to spare him, but it didn’t make a difference.
On July 18, 2017, Joseph’s sentence was vacated based on a Supreme Court ruling that said a unanimous jury verdict is required to impose such a penalty. However, in 2020, his death sentence was reinstated following a motion filed by the Attorney’s Office. Hence, at the age of 54 (born March 17, 1966), Joseph Smith is currently incarcerated at the Union Correctional Institution – formerly referred to as Florida State Prison, Raiford Prison, or State Prison Farm. The convicted felon sitting on death row is now also a suspect in the 2000 murder of Tara Reilly.
Read More: How Did Carlie Brucia’s Mother Die?