Jury sentences Burns to death

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX - Jurors sentenced Jonathan Burns to death for the first-degree murder of Jackie Hartman.

The jury previously found Burns guilty of raping and killing Hartman on their first date together on Jan. 28, 2007.

The judge sentenced Burns on the remaining counts. He received 28 years for sexual assault, 28 years for kidnapping and 12 years for misconduct involving weapons. Those counts will run consecutively.

The jury was given the decision of sentencing Burns to life in prison or the death penalty.

During the sentencing phase, the family of Jackie Hartman, 19, testified about the ongoing torture that they have been forced to endure after their daughter was raped and murdered in 2007.

It was nearly a month before police found her body buried in the desert near Fountain Hills.

Burns, who had spent time in prison on unrelated charges before ever meeting Hartman, has maintained his innocence since police arrested him the day after his date with Hartman. He did admit having sex with Hartman but claimed he dropped her off to meet her family.

Police say Hartman did call her sister to pick her up at a gas station, but the nursing student never made it. Hartman's clothing, torn and riddled with bullet holes, was found in a trash bin near Burns' Mesa home.