GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. - With the victim's family looking on, Michael Jackson, the man convicted of killing Andrea Boyer more than three years ago, was formally sentenced to death Friday morning.
Boyer, 25, was raped and killed as she arrived at work at a Wells Road animal hospital in January 2007.
Jackson showed no emotion when Judge William Wilkes announced the sentence. Boyer's family said they were relieved that justice was finally done.
"It's 3½ years of a roller coaster ride -- up and down," said Boyer's father, Thomas Cochlin. "Delays, accusations, finally coming to the right conclusion, and we look forward to the one final day he has on this earth."
Jackson was convicted in February, and in April, nine members of the 12-member jury returned to the courtroom and voted to recommend the death penalty for the crime.
The judge considered that recommendation, as well as the words from Boyer's family during victim impact statements to make his decision.
"Andrea's still in our hearts," said her husband, Shae Boyer. "We still love her and think about her every day."
"She was my daughter, she was my daddy's little girl -- she was the best friend for her mother and me," Boyer's father, Tom Cochlin said. "I feel so very lucky she was my daughter."
The brutality of the crime is what jurors said convinced them that Jackson should die for the crime.
Jackson continued to maintain his innocence, although he did admit during the sentencing hearing that he raped a woman 25 years ago.
It only took the jury 20 minutes to recommend the death penalty. The judge had 2½ months to decide if he will uphold their choice.
In addition to Boyer's family, Diena Thompson, whose 7-year-old daughter, Somer, was killed in Orange Park last year, also attended the sentencing.
"God brought us all together for a reason, and we'll make a difference and there will be justice," Thompson said.
Jackson's case will be subject to an automatic appeal, which is the case with all death penalty cases in Florida.
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