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KIN PRAY FOR KILLER OF THREE YOUNG SONS.

Byline: Sabrina Decker Staff Writer

VENTURA - About 50 relatives and supporters of Socorro ``Cora'' Caro gathered Tuesday for a candlelight vigil, praying that her life be spared when she is sentenced today for the murder of her three young sons.

But Ventura County Superior Court Judge Donald Coleman is expected to follow the recommendation of a 10-woman, two-man jury that Caro be sentenced to death for the fatal shootings of her three school-age sons on Nov. 22, 1999. His only other option is to sentence her to life in prison without parole.

Prosecutors said Caro shot each of her sons in the head as they slept in an effort to punish her husband over their failing marriage. She then shot herself in the head, but survived her injuries.

``I'm just praying that the judge opens his heart, and not just for my sister,'' said Caro's older brother, John Leon. ``I don't know what happened. It's not for me to know. I just pray tonight that the Lord touches his heart.''

Caro's attorneys were present at the vigil, as were several other Ventura County public defenders who gathered with the group and joined in reciting the Lord's Prayer.

``It's like they are putting to death somebody like me,'' said Caro's sister-in-law Adele Leon. ``Cora is a beautiful woman.''

Caro was found guilty last November of first-degree murder, with special circumstances, of shooting Xavier Jr., 11, Michael, 7 and Christopher, 5. A fourth son, Gabriel, who was 13 months old at the time, was unharmed.

Defense attorneys argued unsuccessfully during Caro's four-month trial that her husband, Dr. Xavier Caro, was responsible for the killings, and that he orchestrated evidence at the grisly scene to frame his wife.

Socorro Caro - who cannot recall the incident - pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity, but she withdrew her insanity plea shortly after she was convicted.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 27, 2002
Words:313
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