Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said his office is seeking the death penalty for Tanner Lynn Horner, a FedEx contract driver accused of kidnapping and killing a 7-year-old Texas girl.
“We are pursuing the death penalty because of the seriousness of the case … and because the child is 7 years old,” Akin said by phone Thursday.
“There may or may not be some roadblocks we may or may not get through — I’ll leave that up to the district attorney,” Akin added.
Athena Strand was found dead Friday in Boyd, Texas, just outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area, after being missing for several days. Tanner Lynn Horner, 30, is charged with murder and aggravated kidnapping in connection with Strand’s death.
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Maitlin Gandy, an attorney representing Strand’s mother, said at a press conference this afternoon that she was “not at all surprised” that Akin was seeking such a sentence for Horner.
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“This is what this community demands. If you take away your young child, your innocence, this community will accept nothing less,” said Benson Varghese. “I wholeheartedly agree with the decision being made and I am sure that the district attorney has something to do with it. Saying you want the death penalty is a huge commitment.
“This is no small task,” Varghese added. “So they’re doing what this community wants and that’s obviously appreciated by everyone in this community and certainly by Maitlin and his family.”
The motive for the murder remains unknown.
Fox News’ Daniel Wallace contributed to this report.