Whatever her problems were, whatever it was that led Sharion Renay King to hook up with the pimp who murdered her, when it came to the home front, she had always been the family rock.
Always employed, mostly in banks, King stood strong for her mother and father. They've gotten old, and her dad is blind and in a wheelchair. They had planned these late stages of their lives around her caregiving. But she's gone now, and Clifford Hudson and Shirley Shanklin don't really know what to do.
"I'm just lost," Hudson said, behind his sunglasses, sitting in his wheelchair in a courtroom hallway, after the man who murdered his 43-year-old daughter had just been sentenced to prison for 57 years to life.
The killer, Robert Albert Thompson, 37, called himself "The Boogie Man." He lured women he met on a social networking website and put some of them to work selling sex on the street.
She battled the bottle and dabbled in dope, but she was a working woman, with real jobs in the financial services industry, and no known criminal record, officials said. She was not a prostitute like some of the other women who hooked up with Thompson.
Still, he manipulated her emotions, her life, to get at her hard-earned money.
Prosecutors said when King challenged the control Thompson exercised over their relationship, he stabbed her to death Feb. 14, 2012, in Discovery Park and set her body on fire.
What's left is a 70-year-old blind man in a wheelchair who, whenever he got sad and blue, called his daughter on the telephone just to have her come over to his house and take him for a spin in the car, to get him some fresh air.
"I can't do nothing now," Clifford Hudson said. "I could always depend on her. If I was feeling bad, I could call her and she'd come over and she could tell the way I felt. She'd come see about me and take me out."
Hudson said his current wife, Ruby, suffered an aneurysm. He said it was Sharion who stepped up to keep the house running, to take care of Ruby, to nurse her back into better health.
"She had to teach my wife how to walk and talk all over again," Hudson said.
Sharion's mother, Shirley Shanklin, is getting close to retirement age. Shanklin lives in Fresno. She'd been planning on moving to Sacramento and living with her late daughter.
"I was going to make her life better, and she was going to help me out," Shanklin said. "I can't believe this is real. I miss my baby. I cry every day. It's been every day. It won't go away."
Judge Russell L. Hom told the family there was nothing in the sentence he was about to deliver to Thompson that would relieve their loss.
But he gave the family what they wanted, which was as much prison time for Robert Thompson as possible, and then some.
Thompson's probation report recommended a 52-to-life term. But the judge dug around in the killer's long list of convictions for prior offenses that ranged from drugs to robbery to jail sodomy to find a bonus five-year enhancement to tack onto Thompson's term.
"This is truly a senseless death," Hom told Thompson. "I could not understand what the motivation for this was, why this happened. This is truly a situation where you slaughtered somebody that is innocent, and the manner that you committed this murder showed nothing but callousness, not only for the person who was your victim, but also to those you have left as victims, in terms of family."