Wilmington man given two life sentences for deadly 2014 fire

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Harris Davis

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man who intentionally set a fire that killed two people was sentenced in court on Friday.

A jury reached the verdict on Thursday, finding 30-year-old Harry Davis guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of first-degree arson.

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The district attorney’s office confirms Davis was given two life sentences for the convictions. The life sentences are to be served concurrently.

He was also sentenced to 207-261 months for each of his attempted murder charges.

Davis set a house fire on Dec. 23, 2014 that killed an autistic and blind 14-year-old girl, Makayla Pickett, who never made it outside the home. Her great aunt, Pamela Pickett, 51, was able to get outside but collapsed in the yard and later died.

“This was about getting justice for Makayla and Pam, and we just thank the jury so much for its verdict,” District Attorney Ben David said on Thursday. “We cannot say enough about the investigative efforts of the Wilmington Police Department who combined with the Wilmington Fire Department to make sure that we had the forensic evidence we needed at the scene to show that this was an intentionally set fire.”

Three others were able to escape the fire safely. Family members say it’s thanks to Makayla that they are alive today.

“There are people who are walking this Earth today, her sisters in particular, that are alive because of the heroism of that little girl,” David said.

During the eight day trial, a jury heard from 36 witnesses and was presented with 300 exhibits. Davis did not testify and his attorney did not present any evidence. Sentencing will take place on Friday, although the district attorney predicts Davis will spend his life in prison.

“By operation of law, the defendant will never get out of prison,” David said. “Truly it’s life without parole.”