Jessica was found March 19, buried with her stuffed dolphin behind a mobile home across the street from her house in Homosassa, Fla., about 60 miles north of Tampa. She had been abducted from her bedroom three weeks earlier. The day before her body was found, Couey had told investigators where to look.
That was the day the tape was made.
Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty against the 46-year-old Couey, who is being held at the Citrus County jail on a first-degree murder charge.
Couey's taped confession is filled with contradictions, Bursch points out, especially when it comes to the length of time Jessica was with him in his trailer, and alive.
But Couey says the terror began with him high on crack:
"I got high on drugs, I went over there and took her out of the house. I walked back into her room."
"What did you say to her?"
"I just told her to come with me and be quiet."
"She walked out of the house with you?"
"She walked out of the house."
"I sexually assaulted her," Couey says.
Couey's timeline is fuzzy: Did he kill Jessica soon after she was taken, or did she live in his closet for days? We may never know, Bursch notes, but at some point, Couey says he got scared, and flipped.
"I went out there one night and dug a hole and put her in it and buried her."
"Was she dead already?"
"No, she was still alive. I buried her alive, she suffered."
At points in Couey's confession, he sobs, calls himself sick, says he tried to kill himself and, at the prompting of investigators, even talks to Jessica.
"Don't know why I did it."
"Listen to me, listen to me. If you could say something to Jessica right now what would it be?"
"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry."
Couey was sobbing as he said that.
But, Bursch remarks, his apology came much, much too late.