Local News

Man Gets Life Sentence for Quadruple Murder

Posted February 20, 2008

— A Moore County man was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole for his role in the slayings of four men in 2003.

Sean Maurice Ray, 28, faced the death penalty but accepted a plea deal to spare his life. He pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree murder and one count each of attempted first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon and first-degree arson.

Eddie Ryals, 21, Carl Garrison Justice, 18, and Harvey Darrell Hobson, 20, all of Carthage, and Joseph Allen Harden, 19, of Vass, were killed on Dec. 19, 2003, in a mobile home on Heron Road, east of Carthage. All four had been shot and stabbed in what authorities said was a robbery. They said the three suspects made off with $170.

Amanda Cook Varner survived being shot twice and stabbed 22 times that day.

Ray was the last of three defendants to be sentenced in the case.

In October, a jury sentenced Mario Lynn Phillips, 35, to death in the case. Varner identified Phillips as the gunman and said Ray and Renee Yvette McLaughlin assisted him in the crime.

McLaughlin pleaded guilty last month to first-degree kidnapping and being an accessory to first-degree murder. She was sentenced to 12 to 16 years in prison on the charges and was given credit for the four years she has already served awaiting trial.


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  • Sandollar Feb 21, 2008

    Killing will never stop, but there seems to be an epedemic of this sort of lawlessness. Weapons are believed to solve everything. Less people have courage enough to work and control their actions. More and more people are acting like wild primates. Idiots. The criminals never get what they dish out.

  • Raggedy Feb 20, 2008

    Will all this killing ever end?

  • Cricket at the lake Feb 20, 2008

    Kill 4 people for $170 and get to live on your self and we get to pay for the incarceration. This sentence will be a big deterrent for future murders. When are they going to get back to capital punishment in NC? What bleeding heart group is the hold up? Bet if one of their loved ones were killed they might feel differently. That's right, they probably had a bad childhood.

  • Dido Feb 20, 2008

    Four people die...he cops a plea...we get to house and feed him for the rest of his life. Is it just me, or are we the ones getting screwed here?

  • skinnycow Feb 20, 2008

    They all of should have gotten the death penalty. No plea. To be carried out after they were sentenced and court was adjourned.