DA to seek death penalty in cases of two men charged with murder in unrelated fires

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Marshall Hudson Doran
Marshall Hudson Doran

District Attorney Ben David plans to seek the death penalty in the cases of two local men, if they are convicted of first-degree murder.

David is seeking the death penalty in the State’s cases against Marshall Hudson Doran and Harry Davis.

Doran, 22, of Kure Beach, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and more than 30 felony charges in connection with a series of fatal fires on Carolina Beach last December. He is charged with the murders of 72-year-old Mary Angeline Cochran and 43-year-old Darlene Ann Maslar, both of whom died in a fire at a condo complex at 409 Carolina Beach Ave. S. on Dec. 6, 2014.

Related story: Kure Beach man indicted on first-degree murder, attempted murder, arson in Carolina Beach fires

Harry Levert Davis
Harry Levert Davis

Davis, 24, of Wilmington, was indicted March 30 on charges of first-degree arson, two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of 51-year-old Pamela Pickett and 14-year-old Makayla Pickett, who died in a house fire on Lingo Street on Dec. 23, 2014.

Two Rule 24 hearings–a required step in pursuing the death penalty in North Carolina–are scheduled for 2:45 p.m. Wednesday in New Hanover County Superior Court.

During a court appearance last month, Superior Court Judge Phyllis Gorham postponed the Rule 24 hearing in Doran’s case at the request of Doran’s defense attorneys. Doran previously waived his right to court-appointed counsel and hired Roger Smith Jr.—who is representing Doran on pending felony death by motor vehicle and hit-and-run charges in Wake County—and Douglas Kingsberry, of Tharrington Smith in Raleigh.

Both men are being held at the New Hanover County Detention Center without bond.

Check back for updates from the courtroom on Wednesday.