COLUMBIA COUNTY — The abused daughter who killed her brother in an escape attempt from their Columbia County mobile home accepted a plea agreement with the State Attorney’s Office to avoid jail.
The 15-year old daughter of Keith Kornegay, 37, and Misty Kornegay, 36, shot her 16-year old brother, Damien Kornegay, in the neck after breaking into her parents’ room and retrieving a 9mm handgun.
She will plead guilty to burglary, avoiding a jail sentence due to the years of abuse she suffered at the hands of family members.
The parents were not at home at the time of the shooting, having left the daughter, son, and two younger children, 11 and 3, alone for several days as the couple traveled as long-haul truck drivers.
The parents instructed Damien to lock the 15-year old in her room with only a bucket for sanitation and a blanket, per Sheriff’s reports.
The 11-year old sister allowed the 15-year old to escape, then fled with her leaving the 3-year old in the trailer with the dead body of Damien.
Initially, officials charged both sisters with first-degree murder, but in February prosecutors decided not to prosecute the 11-year old. Finally, the decision was made to not prosecute the 15-year old, either, based on the terrible abuse that had been suffered by the sister already.
“This case is a tragedy to all those involved,” State’s Attorney Jeffrey Siegmeister said in an interview with the Florida Times Union. “… Further incarceration serves no deterrent, rehabilitative nor other societal interest.”
The tragedy was made worse by revelations that the children’s uncle, Kevin Kornegay who is serving life in prison, inflicted terrible abuse on the 15-year old. A Sheriff’s Office incident report from when the 15-year-old was 11, indicates she was having sex with her brother at the direction of Kevin Kornegay. According to that incident report, the girl wasn’t in therapy even though her uncle had been arrested for sexually abusing her.
Records state the 15-year old will be placed on probation until age 19 and will be required to participate in counseling managed by professional therapists. She must also obey her new foster parents, attend school, and testify truthfully in the child-neglect case involving her parents.
The State Attorney’s Office hope this will give her a chance at a normal life. Child advocates are pleased with the decision to not prosecute.
Meanwhile, her parents now face felony child abuse charges from the state based on testimony that they routinely locked the 15-year old daughter in her room for as many as 20 days with only a bucket and blanket.