‘I’m glad that it’s over’: family and friends of Kori Muhammad’s victims give final statements before his sentencing

California Connection

Muhammad sentence comes after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed court proceedings for months

FRESNO, California (KGPE) — After a jury found him guilty in the deaths of four men in 2017, Kori Muhammad was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday.

But before Fresno County Superior Court Judge Jonathan Conklin officially handed down his sentence — family and friends of his victims said their final piece.

On April 13, 2017, Muhammad shot and killed Carl Williams while he was working a shift at a Motel 6 in central Fresno. Five days later, after police identified him as a person of interest, he went on a shooting spree in Downtown Fresno.

He’d end up killing Zackary Randalls, Mark Gassett and David Jackson.

Eventually, a jury would find him guilty on April 22, 2020. Two days after that, he decided to withdraw his not guilty by insanity plea to get the death penalty off the table.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions on the Fresno County courthouse, his sentencing was delayed to allow families the chance to address the court and Muhammad.

However, before any family or friends could speak Friday, Muhammad warned Conklin he’d have outbursts if he was addressed by any family members. To avoid conflict, Conklin removed him from the courtroom. It was a frustrating move for everyone who attended Friday’s hearing.

“He’s an evil coward, that’s why he didn’t want to hear what we had to say,” Harold Wagner, Gassett’s stepfather, said.

Still, for each person that took to the podium, they shared their grief and regrets.

“Every time I close my eyes, I could see my son and wish I could’ve been there to save him,” Carl Williams’ father, said.

Speakers also talked about the scars the quadruple murders left behind.

Katie Randalls, Zack Randalls’ wife, recalled a moment with her then-four-year-old son while giving him a bath months after the shootings.

She said through tears, “He said mommy, I wanna be dead like daddy. He then described to me he wanted to die so he could be in heaven with daddy.”

Muhammad would return to the courtroom after hours of statements from family and friends. Conklin then let Muhammad give a statement himself, which started with condolences, before starting a familiar refrain about reparations.

Muhammad even targeted politicians, saying, “Let black people go with our own land and reparations, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell.”

His statement didn’t sit well with everyone in the courtroom. Two family members had to be escorted out after responding to Muhammad, one saying, “I hope you suffer.”

In response, Muhammad blew kisses their way, which only escalated things until those family members were out of the courtroom.

Muhammad’s outbursts continued until Conklin put a stop to it, telling Muhammad he’ll never spend another day outside of prison walls — that if change was Muhammad’s motive, he failed.

“The only change you’ve caused is the loss of four lives,” Conklin said.

In the end, for the families of the victims, this was enough.

“I’m glad that it’s over so we can just go on, put it behind us and go on,” said Rosie Wagner, Gassett’s mother.

No one came to speak on behalf of Jackson during the hearing.

Muhammad has 60 days to appeal his sentence.

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