Kori Muhammad, found guilty of killing four in 2017, sentenced to life in prison without parole

Saturday, June 6, 2020
Kori Muhammad, found guilty of killing four in 2017, sentenced to life in prison without parole
Kori Muhammad, who was found guilty of four murders during a 2017 shooting spree in Fresno, was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Friday.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A racist killing spree will send Kori Muhammad to prison for 206 years plus seven life sentences plus life without the possibility of parole.

Sheriff's deputies led the defendant out of court for the last time Friday morning, sending him on his way back to jail and then prison for the rest of his life.

After shooting to death Carl Williams, Zackary Randalls, Mark Gassett, and David Jackson, the defendant said he wasn't guilty because he was insane.

A jury convicted him of four murders and a hate crime motivated by race. He dropped the insanity plea in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.

The trial started in January, got interrupted by coronavirus, and ended with a punishment while protests about racial injustice have swept the country.

"I grant that the world has changed since this trial began I hate to break it to you, Mr. Muhammad, but your delusional beliefs have nothing to do with that change," said Judge Jonathan Conklin. "The only change you've caused is the loss of four lives, the deaths of four men who simply had the misfortune to cross your path. You've also inalterably impacted the lives of their families and friends and the others who you attempted to murder that day. But your ability to impact lives ends today, ends now, and ends here."

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Kori Muhammad, who was found guilty of four murders during a 2017 shooting spree in Fresno, was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Friday.

Fifteen family members and friends of Williams, Randalls, Gassett, and Jackson let their emotions spill out into the courtroom.

The judge focused on the positives, like Carl Williams' mother talking about his love of working security at celebrity events.

RELATED: Kori Muhammad convicted of murder for Fresno mass shooting

"He had left such an impression that David Beckham had recommended he put in an application for his own private security team," said Francine Williams Hicks.

The defendant heard none of the victim impact statements, choosing to leave when they started and having outbursts when he heard something he didn't like.

But the judge gave him a stack of written statements to take to prison.

"So again, if you have the courage you can read those," Judge Conklin said.

The four victims left this world unexpectedly in April 2017.

"On July 25, 1991 my then husband and I were blessed with sweet, handsome baby boy with the name Carl Allen Williams III," said Francine Williams Hicks. "He was an absolute joy."

"And this is Zack with his son, Dutch, his first born," said Susan Drew, the mother of Zackary Randalls, as she showed her son's photo in court.

Zack's loved ones remember him as a thinker, a writer, and a man who would've tried to understand why his killer had so much hatred towards white men.

"He was intolerant of racism and any other way people have been treated unfairly yet he was slain because of his race," said Drew. "This is the ultimate tragic irony."

"The act on April 13 and April 18 only helped divide us all in the battle for equality," said Jack Leal, Zack's father-in-law.

The killer refused to listen to statements from the family members and friends of the people he killed.

He came back when it was his turn to talk and focused only on his beliefs combining voodoo and Nation of Islam teachings.

RELATED: Insanity plea dropped, death penalty dropped in Kori Muhammad murder trial

It was too much to hear for some of the survivors.

"You're nothing," one of them shouted at Muhammad as she left the courtroom. "You have no no no remorse whatsoever. I hope you suffer. I hope you die."

Grief came in different shapes for these families.

Mark Gassett's parents talked about how he spent his last days helping friends.

Carl Williams' family and friends remembered his ambition and work ethic as well as how big a heart he had for his community.

His mother at least got to tell him she loved him in the days before he died.

"Something told me to tell him how proud of him I was and I did just that," said Francine Williams Hicks. "He waved and said 'I know.'"

And Zack Randalls' widow said she felt her husband in court when she saw the judge wearing a Dodgers coronavirus mask at the last hearing.

He put it on again Friday after hearing her memories about Zack's PMA, his positive mental attitude.

Zack left behind a lot of letters, including words to forever wrap his two children in his love.

"Sadly a day will come when I will not put you down to sleep and never pick you up again because you will have outgrown my ability to cradle you," Katie Randalls said, reading from her husband's letter to their son, Dutch. "But I promise to always surround you, even when I'm not around, with all the love I have, Dad."