Suspect who killed Calif. woman in front of kids sentenced to death

Tyrone L. Harts is seen in this photo.

A man who shot his ex-girlfriend in her Moreno Valley home and then set her on fire while her six children watched was sentenced to death Friday in a Riverside courtroom.

Tyrone L. Harts, 42, allegedly shot Brandi Marie Morales on Feb. 22, 2011, and then set her body on fire as her six children, ages 6 to 15, watched in horror.

Morales' eldest son, 15-year-old Koby, heard the commotion, grabbed a kitchen knife and ran to his mother's aid. Harts fired a shot at the boy, who fled the house with his brother Isaiah and ran to get help from neighbors.

The woman's 14-year-old son, Elijah, testified that he saw Harts light his mother's clothes on fire as she lay motionless on the staircase. Elijah and his 10-year-old brother, Israel, ran downstairs with their two younger sisters and filled large cups at the kitchen sink. They were able to douse the flames, but their mother later died.

Harts was allegedly angry over Morales' decision to end their relationship. Harts was convicted on Oct. 30 of first-degree murder, attempted murder and five counts of child endangerment.

On Friday, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Christian Thierbach upheld the capital punishment recommendation of the seven-woman, five-man jury that convicted Harts.

CNS contributed to this report.

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