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Jury selection begins for NC dad accused of killing 15-year-old daughter

Zaria, a rising sophomore at Union County High School, was visiting her father for the weekend when the crime happened.

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — Jury selection began Monday in the capital murder trial of Joshua Lee Burgess.

The Union County man is accused of the 2019 death of his 15-year-old daughter Zaria Joshalyn Burgess.

Zaria, a rising sophomore at Union County High School, was visiting her father for the weekend when the crime happened. Police said it was Burgess who came to them confessing of the crime, the details too disturbing to describe.

RELATED: North Carolina dad accused of killing 15-year-old daughter, sheriff says

"This is a case where it's pure evil. He readily admitted to what transpired," Tony Underwood, chief communications officer for the Union County Sheriff's Office, said.

Joshua Lee Burgess, 32, is charged with murder in connection with the killing of 15-year-old Zaria Joshalyn Burgess, officials said. Underwood said Burgess came to the sheriff's office that Sunday to confess to the killing.

 "'I just killed someone,'" Burgess told the first person he encountered at the sheriff's office, according to Underwood.

The body of Zaria Burgess was found in her father's home on Hampton Meadows Road after the father led detectives back to the crime scene. She was visiting for the weekend, according to investigators. 

RELATED: 'We're going to have to be strong together' | Community remembers Union County 15-year-old killed

“The details of this murder are indescribable. Every officer and detective involved in this case is feeling the effects of what happened to this child," Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said. "There is no logical answer to explain why this man did what he is accused of doing.  Our hearts and prayers are with Zaria’s mom and her family.”

Jury selection is now underway and the trial is expected last from four to six weeks. Opening arguments are expected to follow when a jury and alternates are chosen.

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