By Kendall McGee | March 26, 2021 at 4:37 PM EDT – Updated March 26 at 7:08 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The family members of two people killed in a deadly house fire back in 2014 says they’re able to move on with their lives and heal now that they have justice.
Harry Davis, convicted of two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder for setting the fire on Lingo Street, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Friday morning Judge Phyllis Gorham sentenced Davis to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Judge Gorham told the court in her 25 years in the industry, this was the most difficult case that she’s seen.
The fire took the life of a 14-year-old girl who was blind and autistic, Makayla Pickett, and her great aunt, Pamela Pickett.
“We hope that eventually there will be forgiveness. That’s something that as a family, we’ve always been taught to do, but that will take time,” explained Tina Pickett. “It was a senseless act; it was an evil act and we’re glad the person who did this has been held accountable.”
Makayla Pickett was just 14 years old when she died in the fire. Her great aunt, Tina Pickett, remembers she was loved by her teachers, her classmates, and her family.
“She played beats on the floor and she had a really good sense of timing. Bill misses her playing drums, playing the Congas, and just making music with her, and he also misses Pamela in the sense of not being able to go to the gospel concerts like she did,” said Tina Pickett.
Tina also remembers her sister, Pamela’s passion for cooking and misses her famous fried chicken.
Friday morning, Tina Pickett read a victim impact statement in court explaining what her family had lost, and also remembering the selfless acts of Pamela and Makayla the night of the fire.
Makayla never made it out of the house, but she knocked on the door in the middle of the night to wake her sisters up, who were asleep when Davis lit the fire.
Pamela Pickett called 911 to report the fire and is the reason first responders were able to get there in time to rescue her sister, Beverly, who was wheelchair bound. Pamela got out of the house, but she had a heart condition and died on the grass outside the burning home.
Tina Pickett says the last several years have been hard on her entire family, but their faith has helped them cope with the horrors of the crime inflicted on them.
“Bad things happen to good people. We don’t necessarily know why, but we were raised to believe that in all things we are to look to God, and that’s what we’ve had to do to maintain our sense of goodness in the midst of the evil that happened.”
As for the family members who got out the night of the fire, the girls who survived are young women now, and still struggle with the feelings of anger and guilt for what happened to their family. One of Makayla’s sisters still sleeps with her glasses on because she couldn’t see the night the fire took Pamela and Makayla’s lives.
“Everybody’s impact is different,” said Tina Pickett. “It’s been almost like a wound that’s been open since December 2014, and we hope now that it’ll close since the verdict and the sentencing and that we will be able to move forward to heal.”
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