Local News

Man Gets Life Sentence for Quadruple Murder

Posted February 20, 2008 12:38 p.m. EST

— 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.