By WECT Staff | March 25, 2021 at 3:05 PM EDT – Updated March 26 at 1:52 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The man found guilty of setting a fire that killed a young girl and her great aunt just before Christmas in 2014 was sentenced Friday in a New Hanover County courtroom.
Harry Davis was found guilty of one count of first-degree arson, two counts of first-degree murder, and three counts of attempted first-degree murder Thursday.
On Friday, Davis received two life without parole sentences for the two counts of first-degree murders. The life sentences are to be served concurrently. He also was sentenced to 207-261 months for each of his attempted murder charges.
Davis was accused of dousing the house on Lingo Street in gasoline and lighting it on fire in the early morning hours, while five people slept inside.
District Attorney Ben David said this was a very tough case as many fire scenes don’t have DNA and fingerprints, so circumstantial evidence was key to the result.
“What this really pointed out, more than anything, is that we live in a world where, at our best, there’s bravery and kindness and selfless sacrifice. And at our worst, we are cruel, we are selfish, and we are people who sometimes do things to others that are unimaginable,” said David. “The defendant is right where he should be, which is in a prison cell and he’s never getting out. But when I talk about the bravery, when I talk about the selfless sacrifice, of course I’m referring to the first responding officers who save lives; of course, I’m referring to the Wilmington Fire Department.”
Fourteen-year-old Makayla Pickett, who was blind and autistic, was never able to escape the house. Firefighters later found her on the living room floor.
Her great aunt, 51-year-old Pamela Pickett, got out of the home, but lost consciousness shortly after making it to the grass. First responders administered CPR, but she died just outside the home.
“If it wasn’t for Pamela Pickett, who died of a heart attack in her front yard by calling 911 when she did. And, if it wasn’t for Mikayla Pickett, an autistic, blind child, who knocked on the doors of all of her relatives to wake them up, we would’ve had more fatalities,” said David. “So when we talk about bravery, when we talk about sacrifice, when I say that there’s real heroism involved, the people we really need to honor are the ones that we’ll never get to meet but that we spoke for in this court.
“It has been a long road to get to this point — one where the Pickett family has had to exercise a tremendous amount of patience and I compliment them for it,” said David.
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