Murder charges in deadly shooting, fire

Corey LaValley Sr. is arraigned. (March 12, 2015)


ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — The man suspected of fatally shooting a woman and her children, including his own son, before allegedly setting their Dorr Township home on fire has been charged with three counts of open murder.

An arrest warrant was signed for Corey LaValley Thursday morning and he was formally arraigned in the afternoon in the deaths of his 33-year-old ex-girlfriend Deb Sheppard; Sheppard’s daughter, 12-year-old Emma McComber; and Sheppard and LaValley’s son, 10-year-old Corey LaValley Jr.

Left to right: Debra Sheppard and her kids Emma McComber and Corey LaValley Jr.
(Left to right: Debra Sheppard and her kids Emma McComber and Corey LaValley Jr.)

In addition to the murder charges, LaValley, 32, faces one count of second-degree arson and one count of felony firearm possession.

An Allegan County Sheriff’s Department detective said Thursday that an autopsy confirmed what family of the victims told 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday – that Sheppard, Emma and Corey Jr. had been fatally shot before the fire was set at their mobile home on Briarwood Street in Dorr Township just after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Detectives believe LaValley shot the three victims early Tuesday and then returned later to burn the mobile home with the victims inside. Investigators say they found evidence of two fires set in the mobile home.

“There were several witnesses who indicated that Corey LaValley had told them directly that he had shot all three victims during the early morning hours of March 10th,” Allegan County Sheriff’s Office Detective Mark Lytle testified Thursday morning while seeking an arrest warrant. “Corey was located at an address later in Charlotte, Michigan, and this is where Corey had met up with several of the witnesses who had told them he had shot them and then burned down the trailer.”

LaValley was arrested and interviewed at the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department. The documents show he did not make a statement regarding the shootings or the arson. The motive for the crime remains unknown.

Ruth Lester, a neighbor and friend of Sheppard’s, was at the Thursday arraignment.

“I just wanted to come see how bad he felt, but he didn’t look like he cared,” she said.

She said the children called her grandma.

“I loved those kids and I missed her,” Lester said. “She spent two and a half hours with me Monday night. I left the next day and that’s what I come back to.”

LaValley was denied bond. He is expected back in court next week.

24 Hour News 8 had a crew at LaValley’s arraignment and will have the latest updates on 24 Hour News 8 at 5 and 6 p.m.

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