Suspect In Carolina Beach Fires Charged With Two Counts Of First Degree Murder

Suspect In Carolina Beach Fires Charged With Two Counts Of First Degree Murder Featured

By / Local News / Thursday, 11 December 2014 05:00

Marshal Hudson Doran. Charged with two counts of first degree murder.

By: Willard H. Killough III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH, NC : December 11, 2014 - Marshal Hudson Doran, 22 of Kure Beach, NC, was charged with two counts of first degree murder during a hearing in New Hanover County Court 9am Monday December 11th for the deaths of two people in a 12-unit condominium fire on December 6th, 2014. He was not given a bond. More charges are expected as District Attorney Ben David said he'll ask a grand jury to indict Doran on other charges including damage to property and attempted murder for others who escaped the flames.

The identities of the two Carolina Beach residents found in the rubble of the Sands IV 12-unit condo building at 409 Carolina Beach Avenue South that was consumed by fire in the early morning hours of December 6th, were confirmed following an autopsy conducted Monday December 8th. Police identified 43-year-old Darlene Ann Maslar and 72-year-old Mary Angeline Cochran as residents who lived in the building.

A press conference was held Sunday December 7th, at 10:30AM. District Attorney Ben David announced that 22-year-old Marshal Hudson Doran of Kure Beach was initially arrested for First Degree Attempted Burglary and was a person of interest in the investigation of three fires that occurred early Saturday morning, December 6th. Doran made his first appearance in court Monday December 8th and continued to be held at the New Hanover County Detention Center under a $2.5 million dollar bond.

Firefighters responded to a total of three fires that morning. Two on Carolina Beach Avenue South and another at the Sea Ranch Motel in Carolina Beach. The first started sometime around 2am at an oceanfront Sands IV 12-unit condo building at 409 Carolina Beach Avenue South. Then another several blocks south of the first fire at an oceanfront 12-unit condo building at 811 Carolina Beach Avenue South called Blue Water. Then farther south at the Sea Ranch Motel at 1123 South Lake Park Blvd.

Police arrested Doran that morning following the fires and charged him with attempted first-degree burglary at 611 Carolina Beach Avenue South. There were no reports of fire at that property.

David said the investigation is ongoing and more details will be released as the case goes through the judicial system. He pointed out that intentionally starting a fire resulting in a person’s death is first-degree murder in North Carolina.

Doran was charged earlier this year with two counts of felony death by motor vehicle when two people died in a hit and run incident on I-40 in Wake County, NC. Those charges were later reduced to second-degree murder. He was out on bond awaiting trial in Wake County. He was also charged in that incident with driving impaired and felony drug possession in addition to resisting arrest.

During the fires early Saturday morning, the area looked like a war zone with the occasional sound of car tires and gas tanks in vehicles rupturing. While firefighters worked to control the first condo fire at 409 Carolina Beach Avenue South, power transformers were popping and large pieces of the structure were falling to the roadway below. As firefighters worked to control the blaze and stop it from spreading to adjacent multifamily buildings, someone announced there was another fire nearby. The mood among firefighters and crowds watching from nearby was one of disbelief.

Carolina Beach resident Vic Gore was headed home after watching the first fire and came across a man setting a van on fire at 811 Carolina Beach Avenue South. On the 911 recording of Gore's call, Gore said, "This kid just left and he was burning it up" and, "Some kid was just in this van and setting it on fire. He went out on the beach and he's running north along the berm."

Gore told the 911 operator, "We got to get these people out of the buildings here. I'm going to start knocking on doors."
He said, "I'm trying to get these people awake here. I saw a kid lighting it."
He said, "I pulled up on him while he was striking the damn thing. He's a young guy with like a tan shirt on." He described him as a young white male. He said, "It's going to catch this building on fire if you don't hurry."

Gore met with detectives and positively identified the man he saw running from the vehicle fire at 811 Carolina Beach Avenue South.

A man living in a condo at 811 Carolina Beach Avenue South called 911 to report a car on fire with flames spreading to the building. He was with his baby child and wife. They and other residents made it safely out of the building.
Police officers at that time were searching the area on foot for a suspect seen running along the beachfront. Then officers rushed to South Lake Park Blvd because of a report that an individual was running down that road headed south. Shortly after that, word of another fire at the Sea Ranch Motel was announced.

A firefighter used the public address system on the fire truck to alert people to evacuate the second condo building as smoke and flames crept closer and started running up the outside wall. Residents gathered with their pets across the street. Residents were directed to walk north to a Town parking lot where a command center was organized. The Red Cross set up a tent and began passing out blankets and water to residents who sat on nearby curbs and bumpers of ambulances waiting for more information from authorities. Detectives with the Carolina Beach Police Department were speaking with witnesses throughout the morning gathering statements.

Fire Chief Alan Griffin coordinated with other fire departments from Kure Beach, the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County and even a departments from as far away as neighboring Pender and Brunswick Counties. One important factor that helped firefighters control the fires was the lack of ocean-breeze or strong winds. The air was largely calm.
If anyone has information about these incidents please contact Detective Moore of the Town of Carolina Beach Police Department at 910-508-3975.

Eight families were impacted by the fires.
The Pleasure Island Fire Relief Fund was setup to help victims of the fires. They can be reached on Facebook and donations can be dropped off at the Carolina Beach Town Hall or any First Citizens Bank in the Wilmington area. As of Monday, $33,000 had been collected for the fund.
According to their Facebook page:
After an assessment of all potential costs, donations need to cover the following:
• Costs related to travel, lodging and final arrangements for the families that lost loved ones
• Replacement of two uninsured burned vehicles & short-term rental of vehicles
• Costs related to relocation of family with three children, including rent/deposit, utility deposits and moving costs
• Counseling for children
• Short-term costs for burn victims, including travel, accommodations and food for them and their families during initial hospital stay
• Long-term medical care and physical therapy for burn victims
• Emergency repairs to various residences to make them habitual, including repairs to damaged or lost front doors, windows, etc.
• There are also a host of other smaller expenses and surely some have not been considered or cannot be identified at this time.

Renae Perrett of Network Real Estate explained December 8th, "Just got an update on the tenant (Rebecca) who was living in one of my listings at Sands IV during the fire. Her son, daughter in law and grandson were visiting for the weekend. They escaped by running through fire from a top floor unit. She is at the UNC Burn unit in Chapel Hill and will require a couple of skin grafts. The other 2 adults had less severe burns and the baby who was wrapped in wet blankets lost his eyebrows."

During the Town Council's Tuesday night meeting, the Council adopted a resolution supporting changes to state coastal regulations that could eventually permit the building to be rebuilt. At this time, Coastal Area Management Act regulations will not permit the same size building to be rebuilt although two buildings could be constructed if they have a footprint smaller than 5,000 square feet.

Mary Angeline Cochran.

Darlene Ann Maslar.



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