Lockhart sentenced to die by lethal injection

OPELIKA, AL (WSFA) - Courtney Lockhart, who killed an Auburn student in 2008, will die by lethal injection, a Lee County judge ruled Wednesday. The decision by Circuit Judge Jacob Walker came after an outburst by the killer briefly delayed the proceedings.

Lockhart exploded after the father of Lauren Burk, an 18-year-old freshman at Auburn when Courtney Lockhart abducted and murdered her, said from the stand, "I hope your daughter never has to go through what Lauren went through."

Lockhart screamed at the father, "Leave my daughter out of this. I am sorry for what happened, but leave my daughter out of this."

Lockhart's mother was so distraught at the decision that she had to be restrained by family members.

Walker overruled the jury recommendation that Lockhart, 26, receive life without parole. The same jury found Lockhart, 26, of Smith's Station, guilty of kidnapping Burk on March 4, 2008 and driving her around town before shooting her and leaving her to bleed to death on the side of the road. Lockhart, a veteran of the Iraq War, claimed he was mentally disturbed by his time in the war.

Attorneys for Lockhart argued that he was mentally troubled and that he didn't mean for the gun to go off. He shot Burk in the back as she attempted to jump from the car as Lockhart drove. Her Honda Civic was found burning on Auburn's campus a short time later.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright, WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.