King sentenced to more than 53 years for murder

Published 12:40 pm Thursday, October 1, 2020

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Terrance Alonzo King, age 49, of Kenbridge was sentenced to 53 years and 11 months in prison in Lunenburg County Circuit Court on September 19 on a convictions of first degree murder of Earl Ray Cox and unlawful wounding of Nicolette McKnight along with a misdemeanor of destruction of property that occurred May 11, 2019.

Earl Ray Cox, age 41, of 683 Sugar Hill Road, died of blunt force trauma to the head with evidence revealing he had been struck repeatedly on the head and body with a large rock, a three-foot long decorative wooden spoon, and a metal shovel, according to Lunenburg County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement.

Clement described the murder as one of the most brutal beatings he has prosecuted in almost 40 years.

“The autopsy examination and photos revealed the bone of the back of the skull to be completely broken into at least four fractured pieces,” Clement said.

At the sentencing hearing, in addition to the presentence report, Judge J. William Watson listened to the testimony of Earl’s father, mother, and the mother of his two children, ages 13 and 18, which Clement described as heart-wrenching.

Clement said he recommended a life sentence, emphasizing King’s lengthy and violent criminal record and pointing out how he repeatedly committed the same pattern of anger and abuse, never seeming to learn from his convictions and incarcerations. Clement noted at least 24 separate sentencing events beginning in 1988 made up of 33 criminal convictions, including three separate events of felony unlawful wounding,  burglary, nine assaults, five destructions of property, and six violations of probation.

Clement said King declined to testify at his sentencing, but did speak just before the judge pronounced sentence, stating an apology to the Cox family, but then tempering it with a statement to the effect that words cannot express what he was going through and whatever the judge did to him was not going to bring Cox back. He then said, “Let God handle this,” and said that Isaiah wrote, “Fear not.”

A suspended sentence of 10 years will be subject to good behavior, supervised probation if ever released, and no contact with the Cox family and Nicollete McKnight. Clement said under current law, King must serve 85 percent of the 53 years and 11 months.