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Jurors recommend death penalty for man convicted in Brevard buried alive trial

Death penalty considered for man convicted of killing Bahamas beauty queen


The jury reached a verdict on Tuesday in in the sentencing phase for the suspect in the case of a former beauty queen from the Bahamas who was buried alive in Brevard County.

Ten out of 12 jurors recommended the death penalty for Vahtiece Kirkman, who was convicted unanimously Friday of burying alive 22-year-old Darice Knowles. New state law requires 10 out of 12 jurors must decide to recommend the death penalty in order to forward the recommendation to the judge.

The judge said Kirkman will officially be sentenced to death on April 29.

Ten years after the murder, prosecutors say death is the only appropriate action against the now twice-convicted killer.

Kirkman's old partner selling drugs, Christopher Pratt, testified last week that he actually buried Knowles, but only to avoid being killed with her, as Kirkman threatened.

Pratt took a plea deal in 2010 and got 10 years for his involvement in the murder.

He says Kirkman plotted to kill Knowles because she went on a date with a Cocoa police officer while the gang was trying to lay low related to the murder of Willie Parker.