ALLEGAN, Mich. — An Allegan County man will spend at least 55 years in prison for murdering his girlfriend and her two children and setting their trailer on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime.
Corey LaValley was sentenced Monday morning to 55 to 82 years in prison for the triple murder that happened on March 11, 2015. Investigators said LaValley shot and killed his girlfriend Debra Sheppard, 33, her daughter Emma McComber, 12, and their son Corey LaValley Jr., 10. They were shot execution style and when authorities arrived on the scene they found the children's bodies in bed.
"I hope and pray that they were all asleep when this happened because I can’t even begin to imagine the horror of being approached by someone you once loved, who once cared for you, who once provided for you pointing a weapon in their face and shooting them," said Allegan County Circuit Court Judge Margaret Zuzich Bakker. "Beyond comprehension."
Police said after the murders, LaValley returned to their Dorr Township mobile home and set it on fire. He was arrested on March 12 in Charlotte, Mich.
Prosecutors talked about a possible motive. They said LaValley mentioned early in the investigation that prior to the murders he was upset about Sheppard telling him that their son was not his child.
"You have committed the ultimate act of power and control," said Bakker. "You didn’t like what you heard or what you imagined and what you made up. You controlled the situation by killing three people."
LaValley pleaded 'no contest' to second degree murder in January. The Allegan County Prosecutor said in January that the victim's family had agreed to the plea deal. Prosecutors argued that LaValley appeared detached during his plea hearing and has shown a lack of remorse since the beginning. LaValley disagreed.
"Remorse is something that you don’t show outwardly. It's something that when you’re alone in the middle of the night, you deal with yourself," Corey LaValley said as his voice quivered. "And so for somebody to say that there’s no remorse, they don’t know. They just don’t know."
"You had a chance after each shot to stop and you didn’t," said Bakker. "You had a chance to not reload and you didn’t. You had a chance to think ‘what am I doing.’ And you didn’t because you didn’t want to. You wanted to kill three people."