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December 30, 2014: Jury Recommends Death for Man Found Guilty in 2008 Murder of Lancaster Family

Ricardo Santiago, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A jury reached a verdict of death today for a 24-year-old man that murdered a woman and her three young daughters and then set their Lancaster home on fire, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Robert Sherwood, Assistant Head Deputy of the Antelope Valley Branch, said Corey Lynn King was found guilty on Nov. 25 of four counts of first-degree murder with the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and torture for three of the victims in case MA043389.

King also was found guilty of one count each of arson of an inhabited structure and grand theft auto.

He is due to return on Feb. 20 in Department A19 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Antelope Valley Branch.

On Sept. 9, 2008, King, who was staying at the Avenue J-3 home of Sonya Durfield Harris, 43, stabbed her more than 50 times. Ebony Horton, 14, was stabbed more than 60 times. Melina Harris, 12, was stabbed, beaten and stomped to death and Kayla Clark, 9, was strangled, the prosecutor said.

Evidence at trial revealed that following the killings, King drove to a nearby gas station, filled up several bottles with gasoline, poured it on the victims and throughout the house and then set the bodies and the home on fire.

Sherwood said that a motive for the murder of Sonya Harris was unclear but added that the children were murdered because they were witnesses to their mother's murder.

During the penalty phase of the trial the jury heard evidence that King committed another murder in May 2008 in Altadena. In that case, King allegedly bludgeoned a 90-year-old woman to death and then set her house on fire, Sherwood said.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.