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California Briefing / LANCASTER

Probe widens in house fire killings

September 13, 2008|Richard Winton

An 18-year-old man charged Friday with the capital murders of a woman and her three daughters is also under investigation in the May slaying of an elderly Altadena woman under similar circumstances, investigators said.

Authorities said Corey King is a "person of interest" in the killing of 91-year-old Evelyn Mosley in her Altadena home during an apparent burglary. Mosley's body -- like those discovered Tuesday in Lancaster -- was found after a fire.

Lt. Liam Gallagher of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's homicide division said King was a friend of Mosley's grandson. He said King "is a person of interest because of the similarities between the crimes. In both cases, the victims were killed and a fire was set to cover it up."

King was charged Friday with four counts of murder in the deaths of Sonya Evette Durfield and three of her daughters, Ebony, 13, Melina, 12, and Kayla, 9. Their bodies were found Tuesday in their burned Lancaster home.

If convicted, King could face the death penalty because prosecutors allege that he committed torture in the killings of the oldest daughter and her mother and because multiple homicides were involved. Either allegation, if proved, would be considered a special circumstance that would make King subject to the death penalty.

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