July 1-- Two weeks after being arrested for the killing of a Toombs County girl, 22-year-old Steven Cozzie was indicted Friday by a Walton County, Florida grand jury.
States Attorney Bill Eddins announced Cozzie's indictment in the death of 16-year-old Courtney Wilkes of Lyons.
The grand jury returned a four-count indictment for First Degree Premeditated Murder, sexual battery, aggravted child abuse and armed kidknapping with a weapon.
Officials say the investigation is continuing and they have yet to decide if the death penalty will be sought.
A public defender is expected to enter a plea July 19 on behalf of Cozzie.
Courtney was killed June 16 while vacationing with her family in Florida.
The following account is from the Northwest Florida Daily News.
DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — A Walton County grand jury has indicted Steven Cozzie for first-degree premeditated murder in the death of a 15-year girl last month.
The grand jury on Friday also indicted Cozzie for aggravated child abuse, armed kidnapping and sexual battery, according to a news release from the state attorney’s office.
The indictment was handed down for the strangulation and beating death of Courtney Wilkes of Lyons, Ga., on June 16 in Seagrove Beach.
State Attorney Bill Eddins said the sexual battery charge “stems from activities that occurred at or around the time of the murder.”
Cozzie, 22, of Seagrove Beach, was arrested June 17 after Wilkes’ body was found in a wooded area off the Cassine Nature Trail. Wilkes was vacationing with her family at a nearby condominium.
According to Cozzie’s arrest report, he hit her in the head with a stick and later took a friend to see the body.
According to Eddins, Wilkes’ autopsy is complete and most of the results have been obtained. However, he said some tests are pending and until they are completed no specific information will be released.
“It’s not appropriate to talk about the results because it is a pending case,” Eddins said.
The next step for prosecutors will be to decide whether to seek the death penalty for Cozzie. They were continuing to gather information Friday to determine what sentence they will seek.
Cozzie is being held without bond at the Walton County Jail. His plea day is scheduled for July 19.
Eddins said it could take a year or two for the case to come to trial. He said Cozzie’s attorney can obtain the list of witnesses and any other information collected by the prosecution for the discovery process.
Assistant State Attorney Bobby Elmore will represent the state and public defender Lenny Platterborze will represent Cozzie. Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells will preside at the trial.