Killer Who Fled to North Carolina After Slaying Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison

Killer Who Fled to North Carolina After Slaying Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison

A Houston man who killed his former girlfriend in her apartment in 2020 then fled to his mother’s home in North Carolina was sentenced to 40 years in prison late Monday after being convicted of murder, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

“We stand with the family and mourn for this vibrant young woman who was cut down in her prime for absolutely no reason,” Ogg said. “Far too often, domestic violence leads to gun violence, and it is just senseless.”

Corey Lewis Campbell, 34, moved to Houston from North Carolina in 2016 to work in construction. Jurors convicted him of murder on Friday after two weeks of trial for fatally shooting 33-year-old Darlene Solis on April 28, 2020. They handed down the sentence Monday.

The two had dated on and off for about three years as Campbell worked construction jobs across the country. He had recently finished a job in Utah when he moved in with Solis temporarily while he decided his next move.

Solis was dating another man but wanted to help out her ex-boyfriend. While they were alone in her apartment on West Little York, Campbell shot Solis four times, killing her. He left the .40-caliber pistol under the bed and drove to North Carolina, where his mother lived. When he reached that state, he left the car in a Wal-Mart parking lot and had his mother pick him up.

In Houston, Solis had not been heard from for two days. Her mother, who had been married to a deputy with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, asked her ex-husband to check on Solis. He was on patrol at the time and went into her apartment with his body camera turned on. He found his step-daughter’s body and called police. He testified in the two-week trial, and his body-cam footage was used as evidence.

Detectives with the Houston Police Department investigating the case interviewed a witness whom Campbell spoke to in North Carolina. That witness knew details about the case that were not public, including where the murder weapon was in the apartment and the gun’s caliber and brand. Campbell was arrested and waived extradition. He was brought back to Houston to face trial. He will have to serve at least half of the sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Assistant District Attorney Ryan McLearen, a chief in the DA’s Domestic Violence Division, prosecuted the case with ADA Stepheny De Silva.

“This was the woman he claimed that he loved, but he killed her in cold blood and then ran off,” McLearen said. “He took a daughter, he took a sister, he took an aunt, and the jury handed down the right sentence.”

McLearen noted that Solis had a large extended family, many of whom were in the courtroom every day of the trial. After the sentencing, jurors heard a victim impact statement from Solis’ mother, who sat through the entire trial. They also heard a letter from one of Solis’ brothers, who attended two weeks of trial but had to return to his job in the Army.