COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL — In a bizarre case of abuse, neglect and murder, two northwest Columbia County sisters may have charges dropped or reduced in the shooting death of their brother earlier this year.
Misty “Ariel” Kornegay, 15, and her sister, 11, are accused of shooting their brother, Damien Kornegay, 16, in the throat as he slept on the floor of their house. However, the Third Circuit State Attorney may reduce or even drop the charges based on the circumstances of the case.
As reported earlier on Valdosta Today, the family had a horrible history of abuse and neglect. Ariel Kornagay had been badly molested by her uncle, Kevin Kornagay, at age 11, according to court documents and reports. He has since been sentenced to life in prison on that and other child-sex charges and abuse.
Ariel Kornegay was, for days at a time on several occasions, locked in her room with only a blanket and bucket to use as a bathroom. The Sheriff’s Office in Columbia County reported that she spent as many as 20 consecutive days in the room in once instance, locked up.
Even worse, Ariel Kornegay and her brother had been forced to perform sex acts for the uncle, Kevin Kornegay.
There was also a 3-year old sibling in the house with only the brother, 16, available to care for the siblings. The parents, Keith and Misty Kornegay, would leave for days at a time for work. In fact, they were 3 hours away when the shooting incident occurred, according to reports. Both have been charged with child neglect and are in jail on a $20,000 bond.
The night of the shooting, according to reports, Ariel Kornegay, locked in her room, heard her brother snoring and knew he was asleep. She convinced her 11-year old sister, who had been hiding in a closet with the 3-year old, to unlock her door. Once out, she went outside in an effort to enter her parents’ room through a screened window, where she retrieved a gun and loaded it.
She then went into the room where her brother was sleeping and shot him in the neck, killing him. She and the 11-year old left the house, leaving the 3-year old with the brother’s body.
The State Attorney, Jeff Siegmeister, told the Florida Times-Union in a report that the history of abuse is a concern as he decides how to appropriately prosecute the case. The next hearing will be on Thursday and Siegmeister will have to make a decision by then on how to proceed.
He stated in the article that he might not charge the younger girl with any crime, and if he does charge the 15-year old, he understands the need for counseling, education and help for the abuse she has endured.