A Sacramento Superior Court jury returned a first- degree murder conviction Wednesday against a man who stabbed a woman in the heart last year and burned her body in Discovery Park.
Robert Albert Thompson, 37, who has a prior robbery conviction on his record, faces a 52- years-to-life term for the Feb. 14 killing of Sharion Renay King, who was 43 when she died.
"I'm very excited and happy and everything because they found him guilty," said Shirley Shanklin, the victim's mother. "He took away our daughter. Now he's paying for it."
At trial, the prosecution portrayed Thompson as a manipulator who met women online, then sought to control them and their finances. Some of them worked for him as prostitutes.
King met Thompson a few months before her death. She got on his bad side early on when she challenged him over how they would spend money that she brought in on her welfare card, through income tax returns and other legitimate sources, according to text messages between the two of them that were displayed during the trial.
The night she was killed, King and Thompson and some of the other girls who were in his group drove to the area of 16th Street and Richards Boulevard, where they parked. Thompson and King then walked away, and he returned a few hours later without her. Her burned body was found that morning in Discovery Park.
"I think it's clear from the evidence that this defendant has been victimizing women in various types of ways for a long time, and it culminated in this horrific act against Ms. King," Deputy District Attorney Sheri Greco said in an interview after the verdict.
"This jury's verdict ensures that he will never victimize another woman again," Greco said.
Nicknamed "The Boogie Man," Thompson has a criminal record of convictions for failing to register as a sex offender, possession of crack cocaine for sale, second-degree robbery and jail sodomy.
The robbery conviction qualifies as a strike under California's "three-strikes" law and figures to double the 25-to-life sentence he would otherwise receive for the first-degree murder conviction.
Judge Russell L. Hom scheduled Thompson's sentencing for March 1.