Smith, 39, accosted Carlie in February 2004 as she was walking home from a friend's house. (The abduction was taped by a car-wash surveillance camera in footage that was shown on TV newscasts coast to coast.) Her body was found five days later.
Circuit Court Judge Andrew Owens will issue the formal sentence as early as next month. Sentencing guidelines call for him to impose either life in prison without parole or death.
Rod Millington / AP
Carlie's mother, Susan Schorpen, let out deep sobs and hugged friends when the sentencing recommendation was read, though, in TV interviews, she expressed anger that Smith will automatically receive a legal appeal, meaning his potential execution would not take place for years.
"He may be condemned, but he's still breathing, and my daughter is not," she said. "He couldn't be dead fast enough for me. I want him dead. I want him dead now."
Smith's lawyers had argued for life imprisonment without parole, saying that he was under the influence of drugs and suffered from drug addiction and depression.