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Suspect in Lancaster murders charged

September 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
An 18-year-old man was charged Friday with murdering a woman and her three young daughters, then setting fire to their home. Corey King, 18, was in court Friday and was charged with four counts of murder in the brutal deaths of 42-year-old Sonya Durfield and her three daughters -- Kayla, 8, Melinda, 12, and Ebony, 14.

"I will confirm that this was an awful crime. This was an awful, unimaginable crime followed by an arson in an attempt to burn their bodies," said prosecutor, Michael Blake.

Investigators believe Corey King killed the woman and her three children before setting their house on fire Tuesday morning. King was arrested and booked Wednesday after turning himself in after learning police wanted to question him about the murders.

The bodies of the victims were found in separate rooms after firefighters doused flames at the house on East Ave. J-3 in Lancaster. The coroner's office says the women had been beaten, stabbed, and strangled to death before the fire started.

On the heels of the gruesome discovery of the victims bodies found in their burned home, Thursday night Eyewitness News broke another startling discovery possibly linked to King.

Homicide detectives have reason to believe King could possibly be connected to the murder of 90-year-old Evelyn Mosley.

Authorities say that King is being investigated, but as a person of interest in that killing.

Similar to the Lancaster case, Mosley's house was set on fire and her body was discovered after firefighters put out the flames. Authorities say there were signs of a struggle inside the home.

Detectives say that the suspect knew all of the victims and was considered a friend who frequented their homes.

Close friends of Corey King are shocked and puzzled.

"I think that it was drugs because that is not the Corey I know. Corey was a real cool person. His mom passed away and when I use to argue with my mom he use to say, 'You only get one mom.' I am not trying to sugar coat it and make it seem like Corey didn't do it. But if he did that was not Corey, it was like drugs or something. Corey was a cool person," said suspect's friend, Jamall Morales.

Detectives have not disclosed the motive in the murders of the Lancaster family. Family members of the victims say seeing Corey King in court was extremely difficult.

"My thoughts were full of anger. I couldn't even compose myself. I was speechless," said victim's daughter, Casondra Clark.

At the time of the killings, King was on parole after pleading guilty in August to misdemeanor petty theft for stealing from a Palmdale mini mart.

King has been jailed since he surrendered to authorities on Wednesday.

 

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