News Releases

November 25, 2014: Man Found Guilty in 2008 Murders of Lancaster Woman and Three Young Daughters

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

A jury has found a 24-year-old man guilty of murdering a woman and her three young daughters and then setting their Lancaster home on fire, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Assistant Head Deputy Robert Sherwood said Corey Lynn King was found guilty 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.

The penalty phase of the trial to determine whether King will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or death is scheduled to begin on Dec. 2 in Department A19 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Antelope Valley Branch.

The jury deliberated for three hours before returning with guilty verdicts following a trial that lasted four weeks.

King, who was at the house as a family friend, stabbed Sonya Durfield Harris, 43, more than 50 times and Ebony Horton, 14, more than 60 times on Sept. 9, 2008 at the Avenue J-3 home, according to evidence presented at trial. Melinda Harris, 11, was beaten and stomped to death and Kayla Clark, 9, was strangled by King, 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 over the victims and throughout the house and set it on fire.

Sherwood said in court that an argument was a possible motive for the murder of Sonya Harris. He added that the children were murdered because they were witnesses to their mother's murder.

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