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Gruesome deaths of mom, 3 kids could mean death penalty for killer

Man convicted of killing mother, three children; jury to determine whether he should be sentenced to death

The grisly deaths of a Lancaster woman and her three children -- who were killed because they witnessed their mother's murder -- are in the spotlight as jurors begin to hear testimony to decide whether the killer should be sentenced to death.

Jurors in Los Angeles County will begin hearing testimony next week to decide whether 24-year-old Corey Lynn King should be put to death.

On Tuesday, a jury convicted King of four counts of murder with enhancements of multiple killings and torture in the 2008 stabbing and beating deaths of Sonya Durfield Harris and her three children.

King, a family friend, was inside Harris’ home on Sept. 9, 2008. She was stabbed more than 50 times; her 14-year-old daughter, Ebony Horton, was stabbed more than 60 times; 11-year-old Melinda Harris was beaten and stomped to death; and Kayla Clark, 9, was strangled to death.

Prosecutors said King then visited a nearby gas station, filling several bottles with gasoline used to set the home on fire. Prosecutors said he killed the children because they witnessed their mother’s murder.

Their bodies were discovered by firefighters. Harris’ car was found at a nearby Wal-Mart. Hours after the fire, King called authorities and asked to meet with them. By the next day, he was taken into custody.

The slayings account for one-third of the homicides in Lancaster in 2008.  

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