LANCASTER – A 24-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to death for murdering a woman and her three young daughters and then setting their Lancaster home on fire.
Superior Court Judge Lisa Chung denied an automatic motion to reduce the jury’s recommendation of the death penalty for Corey Lynn King.
A jury recommended the death penalty for King on Dec. 30, 2014, after finding him guilty Nov. 25 of four counts of first-degree murder for the 2008 killings of Sonya Harris and her daughters, Ebony Horton, Melinda Harris and Kayla Clark.
Jurors found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and torture, and also convicted him of arson of an inhabited structure and grand theft auto.
King smiled throughout the sentencing hearing Thursday, even as the victims’ family members spoke about their pain and loss
Enisha Clark said her entire reality had shifted since losing her mother and sisters all on one day. “It’s my personal holocaust; that’s how I think of it,” she said.
Casondra Clark had harsh words for King, calling him a “baby killer” who had ruined her life. “You took away my whole f-cking family, you bastard!” Casondra Clark told King.
The bodies of 43-year-old Sonya Harris, 13-year-old Ebony, 11-year-old Melinda and 9-year-old Kayla were discovered in their Avenue J-3 home by firefighters on Sept. 9, 2008.
King had poured gasoline over the victims and throughout the house and then set the bodies and home on fire, according to Assistant Head Deputy Robert Sherwood.
Before setting the fire, King stabbed Sonya Harris and Ebony more than 50 times; he stabbed, beat and stomped Melinda to death; and he strangled Kayla, according to evidence presented at trial.
The prosecutor said an argument might have been the motive for Sonya Harris’ murder and that her three daughters were killed because they were witnesses to their mother’s slaying.
King surrendered shortly after midnight the day after the bodies were found inside the burning home.
“In my 18 years as a prosecutor, it’s one of the worst cases I’ve ever seen,” Sherwood said Thursday.
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